Governor Chris Christie announced yesterday that he has nominated Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon for reappointment to the bench. Should Escandon be be confirmed by the State Senate, he will be a tenured Judge eligible to serve until the mandatory retirement age of 70.
Escandon was appointed to the Superior Court in 2009 by Governor Jon Corzine. His service on the bench became a matter of public controversy when Governor Chris Christie lent a sympathetic ear to Rachel Alintoff, whose divorce was being presided over by Escandon, during a Town Hall Meeting in Garfield, Bergen County, on May 2, 2012. Alintoff complained to Christie that Escandon stripped her of her parental rights as a punishment for seeking an Order of Protection against her estranged husband in New York and that the Judge ordered her estranged husband, who she said makes over $500,000 per year on Wall Street, to provide only $1000 per month in support for her and her son.
Christie used the interaction with Alintoff to rail against activist Judges. He noted that there are only two ways to get a Judge off the bench; to not reappoint or confirm them or to impeach them. Christie said he could not recall a New Jersey Judge ever being impeached.
In subsequent Town Hall meetings, Christie has said that bias in the Family Courts throughout the state is among the most common complaints he and his office receives from New Jersey residents.
Since the controversy ensued, Escandon has been transferred out of the Family Law Division of the Court. He served in the Criminal Division and now serves in the Civil Division where he hears landlord/tenant matters.
Alintoff has lead a relentless media and litigation campaign against the Monmouth County Family Court. She has accused the Judges who have replaced Escandon on her divorce case, which is still ongoing, of similar favoritism towards her husband. She has filed a RICO action against Christie and the Judiciary in Federal Court and she filed a Petition of Impeachment against Escandon with the State Assembly. She has complained that the Long Branch Police Department, which supervises the transfer of the Alintoff’s child between the parents, has allowed her estranged husband to assault her on Police property.