On Thursday, April 13, 2023, R. Douglas Hoffman, judge of the Municipal Court of the Township of Robbinsville, filed his answer to a complaint filed by the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC)  of the Supreme Court of New Jersey,

The case is entitled “In the Matter of R. Douglas Hoffman,” with case no. 2023-051.

The charges cited code of judicial conduct Canon 1, rule 1.1, Canon 2, rule 2.1, Canon 5, rule 5.1(a) which require:

Judges to observe high standards of conduct to preserve the integrity and independence of the Judiciary.

Judges to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety and to act, at all times, in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Judiciary.

Judges to conduct their extrajudicial activities in a manner that would not demean the judicial office.

On April 10, 2023, the ACJC filed a complaint against the respondent for touching his female co-worker without consent.

The complaint states:

“L. W. arrived at Respondent’s beach house at or around 11:30 a.m. where she remained for longer than four hours. Respondent and L. W. spoke initially on the front porch of Respondent’s house before Respondent invited LW. inside for a tour. Over the next four hours, L. W, and Respondent each consumed four shots of whiskey and one to two cans of beer. At one point, Respondent and L. W. sat within arm’s length of each other on a couch in Respondent’s family room drinking alcohol and watching a baseball game on L.W.’s phone.”

The complaint continues:

“The conversation between Respondent and L.W. at times concerned LW. ‘s intimate relationship with her boyfriend. While seated on the couch, Respondent touched L. W.’s knee and upper thigh, without her consent, and in a manner that made L.W. uncomfortable. Immediately thereafter, L.W. abruptly left Respondent’s house without further discussion and without her car keys.”

Judge Hoffman filed a response denying the allegations.

The response states:

“Denied. This part of the transaction occurred in the Respondent’s living room. The respondent was still sipping the initial beer he had opened. Respondent recalls that L, W. was also drinking beer. Respondent recalls L. W. had initially been seated on a couch across the room. L.W. got off the couch where she had been seated and sat next to Respondent. L. W. positioned herself within a foot of Respondent on the couch and turned facing toward him.”

The response continues:

“Denied, L.W. remained on the couch for several minutes after the knee touch and then stated she needed to use the bathroom. L.W. got up and left the room. The Respondent assumed she had gone to the bathroom. After 5 to 10 minutes, when L.W. did not return, Respondent went back to his front porch. Respondent was unaware of where L.W. went and that she had not taken her car keys. Respondent could still see L. W. ‘s car from his front porch.”

The response additionally notes;

“Denied, In attempting calm and reassure L.W., who had become emotional as she related her intimate relationship issues, Respondent patted her knee twice and told her, You’ll find somebody else to date,” Respondent recalls that L.W. was wearing blue jeans at that time. Respondent is without personal knowledge as to whether she was feeling uncomfortable.”

Judge Hoffman is a part-time judge in the Municipal Court of the Township of Robbinsville in New Jersey located at 1117 US-130, Robbinsville Twp, NJ 08691, and can be reached at +1 609-259-3522. His info can be found on lawyersjustia.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.