On Wednesday, February 22, 2023, Mary F. Thurber, a judge on the Vicinage 2 Superior Court in New Jersey, filed a response to the formal complaint against her alleging judicial misconduct.

The case is entitled “In the matter of Mary F. Thurder” with case no. ACJC 2022-118.

The charges cited Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 5, Rule 5.8, Canon 1, Rule 1.1, Canon 2, Rule 2.1, which requires:

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 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; and

Judges are prohibited from serving as an executor, administrator, trustee, guardian, or other fiduciary, except for the estate, trust, or person of a member of the judge’s family, and then only when such service will not interfere with the proper performance of judicial duties.

The Code of Judicial Conduct can be found here.

On January 12, 2023,  the Advisory Committee Judicial Conduct of the Supreme Court of New Jersey filed a formal complaint of judicial misconduct against Judge Thurber, alleging that the judge served as fiduciary for the McKinley Estate while sitting as a Superior Court Judge.

The filing states:

“In or around June 1998, the trustee of the Dopkus Trust retained Respondent to probate the McKinley Estate. Respondent sought and was granted, Letters of Administration from the Bergen County Surrogate on August 31, 1998, for the McKinley Estate. Respondent remained the Administrator of the McKinley Estate for the ensuing 24 years (August 31, 1998 -April 8, 2022), 13 of which occurred after her judicial appointment in February 2009. In or around December 2021, Respondent retained Hunziker, Jones & Sweeny, PA to file a Complaint and Order to Show Cause to discharge Respondent as Administrator of the McKinley Estate and to appoint a substitute administrator.”

In her response, Judge Thurber admitted most of the allegations but denied violating any Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct and Court Rules.

The filing states:

“Respondent admits in part the allegations contained in paragraph 10, that she remained the Administrator, but all administration of the Estate was completed before 2009, and respondent continued as Administrator in name only after that time. Respondent in part admits the allegations contained in the paragraph, but sought to secure Respondent’s discharge as Administrator and the filing of an accounting.”

In relation to her response, the respondent also indicated that she designates John. Carbone as hearing counsel.

The Judge earned a law degree from Rutgers University School of Law.

The Judge’s courtroom is located at 10 Main Street, 1st Floor in Hackensack, and can be reached at +1-201-527-2630. His bio can be found on New Jersey Law Journal.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.