On Monday, July 10, 2023, the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct for the State of New Jersey filed a formal complaint of judicial misconduct against Judge Lewis J. Korngut of the Municipal Court in the Township of Lawrence.

The case is titled “In the Matter of Lewis J. Korngut,” and was brought by the Disciplinary Counsel, Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, case no. ACJC 2023-020.

The charges cited Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 1, Rule 1.1, Canon 2, Rule 2.1; Canon 3, Rule 3.4; Canon 3, Rule 3.5; Canon 3, Rule 3.8; Canon 3, Rule 3.17(A) and (B); and Canon 5, Rule 5.1(B)(2), which states:

Judges to observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved;

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 maintain order and decorum in judicial proceedings;

Judges to be patient, dignified, and courteous to litigants, jurors, witnesses, lawyers, and other with whom the judge deals in an official capacity;

Judges are prohibited from initiating ex parte communications concerning a pending or impending proceeding;

Judges are prohibited from participating in proceedings in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned; and

Judges are prohibited from participating in activities that would appear to reasonable, fully informed persons to undermine the judge’s independence, integrity or impartiality.

The Formal Complaint alleges that in his capacity as a part-time judge, Korngut allegedly engaged in ex parte communications with the municipal prosecutor concerning pending court matters and fraternizing with police officers. Korngut is further alleged to have a propensity for using profanity, although not directed at court staff nor in the presence of litigants.

The Formal Complaint states:

“Prior to deciding defense counsel’s motion to vacate the judgment, and outside of defense counsel’s presence, Respondent engaged in a series of ex parte discussions with the municipal prosecutor about the merits of the motion and the strength of the State’s case, and subsequently advised the municipal prosecutor of the investigating police officer’s retirement and availability to be subpoenaed for trial, which Respondent obtained via a telephone call to the Lawrence Township Police Department.”

The Formal Complaint continues:

“In addition to fraternizing with police officers in court, Respondent socialized with the officers at public and private events outside of the courthouse.

On at least three occasions during his judicial tenure in Lawrence Township, the last being August 2, 2022, Respondent attended “National Night Out,” an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie held at the Municipal Center in Lawrence Township.”

The Formal Complaint further alleges:

“On or about June 15, 2022, Respondent stated, “I’m going to f*****g kill somebody,” due to his frustration with his computer. Later that same day, Respondent stated, “Another computer just went f*****g black. Oh my God, this is a f*****g nightmare. This is a f****** nightmare.”

In light of the foregoing, the Advisory Committee charges that Judge Korgut demonstrated conduct inconsistent with the high standards of conduct expected of judges, impugned the integrity of the Judiciary, and created an appearance of partiality.

The judge earned a law degree from Seton Hall Law School in 1986.

The judge’s courtroom is located at 2211 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrence Township in New Jersey, and can be reached at 609-844-7157. His bio can be found here.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.