Ethics Complaint Filed Against NJ Municipal Court Judge
On November 3, 2010, the disciplinary counsel for the New Jersey Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct filed an ethics complaint against former Mount Laurel Municipal Court Judge Gregory McCloskey.
The complaint alleges that the judge presided over the trial of State v. Thomas Grabovich, in which the defendant was charged with a DWI and refusal to submit to breath testing. During a break in the trial, the judge allegedly conducted an ex parte conference with the prosecutor while defense counsel, Kevin Leckerman, was not present. The judge directed the prosecutor to ask his witness certain questions when the trial resumed. A transcript of the hearing revealed the conversation between the judge and the prosecutor occurred in the court room before the sound recording system for the trial was shut off. At the conclusion of the trial, the judge found the defendant guilty of both charges.
On appeal, the superior court ruled that the defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial was violated. The convictions were vacated and Grabovich was entitled to a new trial.