Ethics Complaint against Former New Jersey Judge
A New Jersey judge is the subject of an ethics complaint filed by the New Jersey Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct. The complaint relates to an incident in which the judge engaged in a non-permissible conversation with a prosecutor during a DUI trial.
The complaint is related to a 2008 Mount Laurel DUI case against Thomas Grabovich, who was accused of driving under the influence, reckless driving and refusing to submit to alcohol test. The trial began in January 2008 and was spread out over a four-day period. Judge Gregory McCloskey was the presiding judge at the trial. On the second day of the trial, Judge McCloskey engaged in an off–the-record conversation with the Mount Laurel prosecutor, and he directed the prosecutor to ask the defendant certain questions relevant to the state's case. The questions were also critical from the defense point of view. Neither the defendant nor his New Jersey DUI defense lawyer was present in the court at the time this conversation between the judge and the prosecutor took place.
Grabovich was later found guilty, and he appealed. It was then that the defense lawyer found out about the conversation that had taken place between Judge McCloskey and the prosecutor. In August 2009, Judge McCloskey denied the defense lawyer’s motion for a new trial, but he did acknowledge his impermissible conversation with the prosecutor during the first trial. A Superior Court later found that Judge McCloskey had engaged in impermissible conduct and had shown partiality to the state.
This is the second time a South Jersey court judge has been alleged to have engaged in unethical conduct. Winslow Judge Michael A. Diamond allegedly offered his opinion and provided legal advice to the prosecutor during a traffic offense case in August 2009. A complaint was filed against him, too.
The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons charged with DUI, and other crimes across New Jersey.