On Monday, October 30, 2023, Judge Lewis Korngut of the Lawrence Township Municipal Court in New Jersey filed a verified answer to a formal complaint filed by the Supreme Court of New Jersey Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct. The complaint contains 18 allegations spanning 3 counts regarding Judge Korngut’s conduct both on and off the bench over recent years.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Judge Lewis J. Korngut,” with case number ACJC 2023-20.
In his response, Judge Korngut admits to some of the factual allegations made in the complaint but denies engaging in any substantive ex parte communications in violation of judicial ethics rules. He acknowledges speaking with attorneys and officers regarding administrative matters like scheduling but denies discussing the merits of any cases before his court.
Regarding specific incidents alleged in the complaint, Judge Korngut admits learning the blood alcohol content of a defendant from an email defense counsel sent to the prosecutor rather than direct communication with the arresting officer.
However, Judge Korngut denies having inappropriate conversations with officers about case facts. He asserts checking with victims in one case was appropriate and another discussion was limited to scheduling. The judge also admits attending community events in his hometown of Lawrence Township on a few occasions where police officers were present but claims this was not improper.
The complaint further alleges Judge Korngut on several occasions used profanity in reference to technology frustrations, which he admits, but clarifies these comments were not made in front of litigants, attorneys, or during court proceedings. Finally, the answer identifies several mitigating factors such as Judge Korngut’s long career without prior complaints, and acknowledges some conduct was inconsistent with judicial canons while denying other allegations.
If the Advisory Committee finds one or more of the alleged ethics violations are proven by clear and convincing evidence, possible sanctions range from a private reprimand to removal from office. A final decision on the matter has not yet been issued.
Judge Korngut has served as a judge in Lawrence Township Municipal Court for 6 years and spent 12 years as a Deputy Attorney General. He 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.