On Thursday, January 12, 2023, the Advisory Committee Judicial Conduct of the Supreme Court of New Jersey filed a formal complaint of judicial misconduct against Superior Court Judge Mary F. Thurber of the Civil Division in the Bergen Vicinage. The case is entitled “In the matter of Mary F. Thurber” 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.

The Formal Complaint alleges Judge Thurber to have engaged in misconduct by serving as fiduciary for the McKinley Estate while sitting as a Superior Court Judge.

The filing states:

“Respondent sought and was granted, Letters of Administration from the Bergen County Surrogate on August 31, 1998, for the McKinley Estate.

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”

The filing continues:

“On or about December 7, 2021, Respondent, as Administrator of the McKinley Estate, received a check in the amount of $88,823 from Bank of America (“BOA”), which represented all funds of the Estate on deposit with BOA.

Respondent endorsed the BOA check to the Hunziker firm’s attorney trust account.”

The filing further alleges:

“On or about February 10, 2022, the Hunziker firm file a Complaint and Order to Show Cause for Discharge of Administrator and Appointment of Substitute Administrator with the Bergen County Surrogate’s Court.”

The filing additionally notes:

“On or about April 8, 2022, Respondent, by court order, was discharged as Administrator of the McKinley Estate, subject to providing the court with a final accounting.”

With all the facts and allegations, the Advisory Committee charges that Judge Thurber has violated the above-cited Canons of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

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.