On Tuesday, January 30, 2024, the New Jersey Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct filed a complaint against Superior Court Judge Douglas Hurd alleging ethical violations. The complaint centers around Judge Hurd permitting his secretary to work remotely for six months in 2022 despite policies requiring the role to be filled in person.

The case is entitled “In the matter of Judge Douglas H. Hurd,”  with case number ACJC 2023-140.

The Committee asserts Judge Hurd knew or should have known of the remote work prohibition but believed he had discretion in the matter. However, allowing the special working arrangement constitutes improper use of judicial power and status to benefit his staff member, according to the complaint.

If named, the secretary received an exemption from the state’s residency requirement after moving out of New Jersey late last year. Still, rules bar the remote performance of secretarial duties for judges. Judge Hurd reportedly acknowledged permitting remote work while maintaining his right to discretion as a justification.

By proceeding with formal charges, the Committee has decided against private discipline for the alleged misconduct. The complaint lists violations of judicial conduct codes concerning high standards, avoiding impropriety or its perception, and not leveraging the court for personal favors. The final disciplinary ruling rests with the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Judge Hurd has served on the Superior Court since 2009 after appointments by former Governor Jon Corzine. He continues presiding over civil cases in Mercer County and may remain on the bench until mandatory retirement in 2039.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.