Friday, March 4, 2016

Former Jersey City Municipal Judge faces ethics charges.


Update May 21, 2016: I have obtained a copy of Babcock's answer to the complaint.

In a January 22, 2016 complaint, the Office of Attorney Ethics alleged that a former Jersey City Municipal Court judge, in his capacity as a private lawyer, violated the Rules of Professional Conduct for disobeying a Superior Court Judge's orders and for failing to cooperate with ethics investigators.

According to the complaint, Francis C. Babcock, Jr., who served as a part-time Jersey City judge between 2007 and 2015, began his service as the administrator of a contested estate matter that was being litigated before Superior Court Judge Katherine R. Dupuis. Babcock allegedly failed to account for the estate's assets as required by a March 27, 2014 consent order.  On July 17, 2014, after noting his failure to account, Judge Dupuis ordered him to comply but Babcock still drug his feet.  This caused Dupuis to issue bench warrant for Babcock's arrest and remove his as the estate's administrator.

After Dupuis reported the matter to the Office of Attorney Ethics, Babcock reportedly has also blown off ethics investigators' requests for information and cooperation.  There is no evidence that any of the estate's money or property has been pilfered. Rather, it appears that Babcock has failed to explain why he stopped working on the estate or why he has failed to comply with Judge Dupuis' orders.