In the Matter of Williams

169 N.J. 264 (2001)

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In the Matter of Williams

New Jersey Supreme Court
169 N.J. 264 (2001)

  • Written by Haley Gintis, JD

Facts

In 1998, Superior Judge Rosemarie Williams began dating Alfred Bridges, a courthouse investigator. The relationship dissolved. On April 14, 2000, Williams was at a restaurant when she saw Bridges enter with a woman, Tami DeVitis. Williams told Bridges to leave and began getting emotional. Bridges and DeVitis then left. Williams followed Bridges and DeVitis out of the restaurant while yelling at them. Williams then got into her car and began looking for Bridges. While Williams was driving, she observed Bridges and DeVitis in the parking lot of a saloon. Williams pulled her car over to confront them, and another verbal dispute began. Bridges then entered the saloon and requested that the owner call the police. Williams got back into her car and drove to the state’s justice complex. At the complex, Williams called the police. The police arrived at the complex to question Williams and then drove to the saloon to question Bridges and DeVitis. After a short investigation, the police left. The saloon’s bartender then received a call from an individual stating that she was with the police department and needed to speak to Bridges. Bridges was given the phone, but he immediately hung up when he recognized Williams’s voice. Following the incident, the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC) filed a complaint against Williams. The complaint alleged that Williams had violated the Code of Judicial Conduct by engaging in a domestic dispute in public and falsely identifying herself as police. The ACJC recommended that Williams be disciplined, but the members disagreed as to whether she should be censured, suspended, or removed. In response, Williams claimed that she had never identified herself as an officer and that she had stated that she was at the police department to give a statement. Williams also requested that her behavior be judged in light of the fact she suffered from battered-woman’s syndrome. The court then held a hearing to consider whether Williams had violated the Code of Judicial Conduct and, if so, the appropriate disciplinary action.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Poritz, C.J.)

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