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:
Governor Christie’s nomination of Judge David F. Bauman to the State Supreme Court has prompted a mid-term reassignment of the Superior Court Judges in Monmouth County.
Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson told MMM that effective January 2, 2013 Judge Paul Escandon is transfered from Family Court to Civil Court, Judge Honora O’Brien Kilgallen will move from Civil Court to Criminal Court, Judge Linda Grasso-Jones will switch from hearing Civil matters to Family matters, and Judge James J. McGann will transfer from Civil Court to Criminal Court hearing Juvenile cases. Judge Leslie-Ann M. Justus will remain in Family Court and take over Escandon’s calendar.
MMM called Lawson for comment on a New York Post story over the weekend that said Escandon would not be hearing divorce cases “after a months-long campaign by women who say he systematically cheated them from the bench.” Lawson said the Post story was a “rehash.” Escandon has not been hearing new divorces, rather, he has been presiding over non-matrimonial cases and post-Judgment matters in Family Court, since July.
Escandon’s July reassignment was caused by Judge Michael Guadagno’s elevation to the Appellate Court and these recent reassignments are the result of Bauman’s anticipated elevation to the Supreme Court, according to Lawson.
Lawson said that the Monmouth County Vicinage currently has six vacancies with a seventh coming if Bauman is confirmed a Supreme Court Associate Justice by the State Senate. There are four pending Judicial nominations for Monmouth County pending before the Senate.
Escandon’s tenure on the Family Court bench has been a subject of controversy since May when former Long Branch resident Rachel Alintoff complained to Governor Christie at at Town Hall Meeting in Garfield about Escandon’s rulings, one of which had been overturned on appeal, in her divorce case. Since then, a group of divorce litigants, mostly women, have been holding periodic protests about Escandon at the Monmouth County Court House and the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct has initiated an investigation into Escandon based upon Alintoff’s complaints.