NEW BRUNSWICK — A retired Supreme Court justice, some of the state’s most well-respected attorneys in private practice and corporations, a trio of legal scholars, and lay members will serve on a New Jersey State Bar Association task force addressing the ongoing threats to judicial independence
New Jersey State Bar Association President Ralph J. Lamparello named the remaining 12 members to the Task Force on Judicial Independence on Wednesday. The Task Force’s co-chairs were named previously. They are: Dorothea O’C. Wefing, a former Appellate Division Judge who served temporarily on the Supreme Court, and Maurice Gallipoli, a former Assignment Judge in Hudson County.
“The membership of this task force represents some the very finest minds not just in New Jersey’s legal community, but in all of New Jersey, to examine this issue, which is of paramount importance to our democracy,” Lamparello said. “They bring a wealth of different personal and professional experiences and backgrounds to study the threats facing the independence of the Judiciary as a co-equal branch of government.”
The additional task force members are:
- Mary M. Ace, LCSW, a social worker and former trustee of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation.
- Raymond M. Brown, Esq., a partner at Greenbaum, Rowe, Smith and Davis in Woodbridge, who is the host of “Due Process” and has appeared in courts around the world.
- Judge Philip Carchman (ret.), a former Appellate Division Judge, who served as Acting Administrative Director of the Administrative Office of the Courts. He is an ex-officio member.
- Justice James H. Coleman Jr. (ret.), who served nine of his nearly 40 years on the bench as a Supreme Court Justice, and is now of-counsel to Porzio, Bromberg & Newman.
- Barry H. Evenchick, Esq., a prominent litigator who has worked widely in government service.
- Prof. Edward A. Hartnett, the Richard J. Hughes Professor at Seton Hall Law School.
- Prof. Solangel Maldonado, a Seton Hall Law School professor whose scholarship focuses on the intersection of race and family law.
- Carlos Ortiz, Esq., Goya Foods’ vice president and general counsel.
- Carole B. Moore, M.Ed., a teacher and administrator at the Chapin School with extensive community service experience that includes work with Home Front and Loaves and Fishes.
- Carl D. Poplar, Esq., one of New Jersey’s leading criminal defense attorneys with 40 years of trial experience.
- Judge Barbara Byrd Wecker (ret.), a judge for more than 20 years, including a decade on the Appellate Division, who is now with Greenberg, Dauber, Epstein & Tucker.
- Prof. Robert F. Williams, Rutgers University School of Law – Camden distinguished professor who is associate director of its Center for State Constitutional Studies.
The task force will examine what led to the current crisis, consider what steps can be taken to prevent it from recurring, and educate the public about the importance of a strong, competent, easily functioning, but always independent Judiciary.
The task force plans to hold a series of hearings in the coming months for interested parties, including the public and the legal and political spheres, to share their views and recommendations. After deliberations, the task force will issue a public report suggesting initiatives to address the problem.
Dozens of other lawyers and judges volunteered to assist the task force.
“We were overwhelmed by the positive response to the formation of the task force from our members and colleagues. I am grateful for their passion and interest,” Lamparello said. “While the membership of the task force is limited, I encourage everyone to share their views at the upcoming public hearings. It is critical that all our voices are heard, so we can find a path forward.”
Added the co-chairs: “We are profoundly grateful to the many who people expressed interest to us about joining the task force, and look forward to hearing from them as the task force begins its work.”
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