Source: AP - AP Wire Service
Mar 23 16:22
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) _ A high-ranking New Jersey judge has been censured over his behavior in court that included comments to a woman that she should send nude pictures of herself to Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner.
State Superior Court Judge Alberto Rivas has agreed to step down from his position as Middlesex County's assignment judge, the top position in the office, the state Supreme Court said Monday. He will continue to serve on the bench in civil cases.
In a filing last month, a state advisory committee on judicial conduct recommended Rivas be censured. The panel found Rivas ``demonstrated a lack of self-control'' during a January 2019 dispute involving the girlfriend of a married man and the man's wife. The girlfriend was seeking to have the wife return explicit photos of herself that she feared would be shared on social media.
Rivas called the man ``despicable'' and ``a knucklehead'' and told all three he was ``just dying to whack one of you,`` according to the panel.
Rivas also told the girlfriend that the only person she should be sending the pictures to was Hefner, who ``would pay you $100,000 for the use of them.''
Rivas has apologized and has indicated he is seeking counseling. In an answer to the panel's initial report last year, he said he felt the woman was trying to undermine the court system by making a false claim, but admitted his language and demeanor were inappropriate.
Rivas will be replaced as assignment judge by state Superior Court Judge Michael Toto, who has served in Middlesex County for 14 years and has been the presiding judge in the criminal division since 2017.
Received Id AP1200838A235493 on Mar 23 2020 17:55