Fate of former Wall schools boss heads to jury

assetContentFREEHOLD – After nine weeks of legal proceedings, the prosecution and defense in the trial of former Wall Township public schools Superintendent James Habel each delivered their closing arguments Wednesday. Habel, 58, was indicted in June 2013 on several charges, including second-degree official misconduct, theft by deception, financial facilitation of criminal activity, theft by failure to… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: March 4th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Crime, Crime and Punishment, Education, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court, Monmouth County Prosecutor, Wall Township | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

NJ Democratic Party Sues Belmar Republican Candidates, Board of Elections, Alleging Voter Suppression

NJ Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie, right and Vice Chair Lizette Delgado-Palanco

NJ Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie, right and Vice Chair Lizette Delgado-Palanco

The New Jersey Democratic State Committee and five Belmar residents have filed suit in Monmouth County Superior Court alleging that the Republican candidates for Mayor and Council in last year’s municipal election, as well as four of their supporters, also Belmar residents, participated in a voter suppression scheme designed to disenfranchise vote by mail voters who delivered their ballots to Freehold via messenger.

The suit, filed as amended on February 3, also alleges that Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections Hedra Siskel instructed and/or advised two of the Belmar defendants, Joy and Carmine DeSanctis to alter, amend or modify their sworn affidavits challenging the mail in ballots.  Siskel is not a defendant in the suit.

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Posted: March 4th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: 2014 Elections, Belmar, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court, NJ Democrats | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Jury acquits Long Branch man of felony murder, robbery

gavelFREEHOLD – A Long Branch man was released from jail Monday, days after a jury acquitted him in the 2011 killing of an Asbury Park man. Joshua Simmons, 27, was acquitted Friday of felony murder, armed robbery, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, according to his attorney Carlos Diaz-Cobo.… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 10th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Long Branch, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court, Monmouth County News, New Jersey, News | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

Trial begins for former Wall Twp. schools boss charged with official misconduct, theft

The trial in the case against former Wall Township schools superintendent James Habel, who is charged with official misconduct and other offenses, began on Tuesday morning with the prosecution and defense delivering their opening arguments.

The trial in the case against former Wall Township schools superintendent James Habel, who is charged with official misconduct and other offenses, began on Tuesday morning with the prosecution and defense delivering their opening arguments.

FREEHOLD – The trial in the case against former Wall Township schools superintendent James Habel, who is charged with official misconduct, theft and other offenses, began on Tuesday morning with the prosecution and defense delivering their opening arguments. Habel, 58, was indicted in June 2013 on charges of second-degree official misconduct, second-degree theft by deception, two… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: January 14th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Crime, Crime and Punishment, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court, Monmouth County Prosecutor, New Jersey, Wall Township | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bellew’s Campaign Manager Arraigned, Released Without Bail

Dwayne Horner. photo via facebook

Dwayne Horner. photo via facebook

Dwayne Horner of Little Elm Texas was arraigned in Monmouth County Superior Court on Identity Theft Charges stemming from a 4am robo call purported to be made on behalf of State Senator Joe Kyrillos, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon and Assemblywoman Amy Handlin in the early morning of the primary election in the 13th legislative district on June 4, 2013.

Horner was the campaign manager for Leigh-Anne Bellew, Kyrillos’s challenger in the Republican primary.

Horner, 45, was indicted on the fourth degree charge on August 11.  He plead Not Guilty before Superior Court Judge Ronald Lee Reisner.  Horner was released on his own recognizance.

A recording of the call can be heard here.  Horner’s voice can be heard on the voice mail greeting of the Bellew campaign here.

The indictment charges that Horner impersonated another person or organization for the purpose of obtaining a benefit for himself or another or for the purpose of injuring or defrauding another.

If convicted, Horner faces 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.  He is represented by Robert Bonney of Lomurro-Davidson.

Posted: September 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: 13th Legislative District, Crime, Crime and Punishment, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court, Monmouth County Prosecutor, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Municipal Judge Accused of Judicial Misconduct

Atlantic Highlands Municipal Building

Atlantic Highlands Municipal Building

Judge Peter A. Locascio, the Municipal Court Judge in Atlantic Highlands and Highlands, has been accused of Judicial Misconduct by the Disciplinary Counsel of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC). The complaint can be found here.

Locascio is accused of exhibiting “extreme and personal” hostility towards an attorney appearing before him starting in August of 2008 and extending through early 2013, for failing to rule on recusal motions by that attorney after he was ordered to do so by his Assignment Judge, of using the powers of his office to his personal benefit  and of conflicts of interest in allowing his personal attorney, a close personal friend, to appear before his court.

The attorney involved was not named in the complaint.  “It could be several people,” said one member of the Monmouth County legal community speaking off the record, “Locascio is known to be caustic and vindictive.”

A complaint by the ACJC disciplinary counsel is an indication that an investigation into the initial complaint produced enough evidence to warrant an hearing before the committee. If after the hearing the committee determines that the Judge did violate the Code of Judicial Conduct the matter is referred to the State Supreme Court for public reprimand, censure, suspension, or removal.   If the committee finds after its hearing that there is not clear and convincing evidence of Judicial Misconduct, it makes a recommendation to the Supreme Court to dismiss the complaint with or without private reprimand.

Posted: August 12th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Atlantic Highlands, Highlands, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court, NJ Courts, NJ Judiciary | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Thornton Replacing Lawson as Monmouth Assignment Judge

Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson administering the Oath of Office to Freeholder Gary Rich, January 2012.

Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson administering the Oath of Office to Freeholder Gary Rich, January 2012.

New Jersey Supreme Court Chief Justice Stuart Rabner announced yesterday that Judge Lisa P. Thornton will replace Judge Lawrence M. Lawson as the Assignment Judge of the Monmouth County Vicinage, effective September 1, 2014.

Lawson, who has served on the bench since 1987 and as Assignment Judge since 1993, is retiring three years before he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 70.

Thornton will be the first female African-American Assignment Judge in the history of the New Jersey Court. She served as Rabner’s Chief of Staff when he was New Jersey’s Attorney General under Governor Jon Corzine.

A resident of Neptune, Thornton was appointed to the Court by Corzine in 2008. She earned her law degree from Rutgers-Newark in 1992 while she was employed by Prudential Financial. She was the Municipal Court Judge of Neptune Township from January of 1999 through December 2001. In 2002 Thornton was named special deputy commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance where she served until joining Corzine’s office as senior associate counsel in January of 2006 where she served until joining Rabner in the Attorney General’s Office in September of 2006.

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Posted: July 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court, NJ Judiciary | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Jury Selection Starts For Eatontown Man Accused Of Throwing His Daughter Off A Bridge

Arthur Morgan III during a hearing at Monmouth County Court last October. Photo courtesy of Wall.Patch.com

Arthur Morgan III during a hearing at Monmouth County Court last October. Photo courtesy of Wall.Patch.com

Jury selection for the murder trial of Arthur Morgan III, 29 of Eatontown, started yesterday in Judge Anthony Mellaci’s courtroom in Freehold.  Jury selection is expected to continue throughout this week. Opening statements in Morgan’s trail could start as early as Tuesday, March 11, according to a statement by Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.

Morgan is accused of murdering his 2-year old daughter, Tierra Morgan-Glover, on November 21, 2011, by tossing her off an overpass on Schoolhouse Road in the Shark River Park section of Wall Township.   Tierra’s mother filed a missing persons report after Morgan failed to return his daughter to her mother’s custody as agreed after a visitation scheduled for a few hours. The toddler’s body was discovered by passers-by on November 22, 2011.

Morgan fled the area and was apprehended in San Diego, CA on November 29, 2011.  He has been held on $10 million bail in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution since his extradition.

Posted: March 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Crime, Crime and Punishment, Monmouth County Court, Monmouth County Prosecutor | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Petition For Impeachment Filed Against Judge Paul Escandon

 

Five women whose divorce cases were heard by Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon are petitioning the New Jersey General Assembly to impeach the Judge they say violated their rights of due process and equal protection.

WABC-NY first reported the story of the impeachment petition.

Under the New Jersey Constitution, the General Assembly has the sole power to impeach judges by majority vote of the members.  Should a judge be impeached by the Assembly, a trial is held in the Senate.  A conviction and removal from office requires the vote of two-thirds of the Senate members.

Patricia Madison aka Patricia Pisciotti, Rachel Alintoff, Tameka Hunt, Paula Diaz Antonopoulos Wolfe, and Kristen Williams are represented by Robert A. Tandy, Esq., a Woodcliff Lake civil rights and employment attorney.

The women argue that they have no recourse against Escandon, other than impeachment and removal from office, for violating their civil rights due to the broad immunities granted Judges.  They make the following allegations in their petition:

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Posted: September 4th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Civil Rights, Equal Protection Clause, Judicial Reform, Justice, Legislature, Monmouth County Court | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments »

Middletown Library Director and Democratic Committee Candidate Worked Together To Undermine Oversight, Raise Funds For Democratic Campaign

State Senator Barbara Buono and Linda Baum, Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, 8/25/12 facebook photo

State Senator Barbara Buono and Linda Baum, Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, 8/25/12 facebook photo

Middletown Library Director Susan O’Neal submitted incomplete and haphazardly organized emails between herself and Linda Baum, a past and present Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, in response to Judge Lawrence M. Lawson’s ruling last week that the emails are government documents subject to the New Jersey Open Public Records Act.

MMM received the 298 pages of emails which include numerous duplicates, many truncated pages that cannot be fully read and omit relevant attachments, late this morning from Middletown Township via OPRA request.  The emails can be viewed via Scribd at the end of this post.

The emails reveal a ongoing endeavor between O’Neal and Baum to undermine the oversight of the library by its Board of Trustees and the Township Committee.  Additionally, Baum and O’Neal planned to use the library to forward the political objectives, including political fundraising, of Baum and the Middletown Democrats.  Middletown Democratic Chairman Don Watson was copied on several of the emails.

In his ruling dated July 1 denying Baum’s motion to thwart the release of the emails requested by Middletown Clerk Heidi Brunt on behalf of Township Committeeman and Library Trustee Tony Fiore, Lawson wrote that Baum argued the emails have “absolutely nothing to do with the official business of the library” and do not relate to public operations.

Lawson wrote that “Baum argues that she has no relationship with the Library, nor is she an agent of the library in any respect.”

The emails reveal otherwise.

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Posted: July 8th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Middletown Library, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court | Tags: , , , , , , , | 27 Comments »