Bund comment lands N.J. judge in hot water

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A complaint was filed against a New Jersey judge who jokingly referenced a Nazi organization during a trial.

In April, the state Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct filed a formal complaint against Superior Court Judge William Wertheimer.

The judge had responded to a request by two lawyers to be excused for Passover by asking if he should tell jurors that the trial would conclude for the day so the attorneys could attend a "Bund meeting" — a reference to an anti-Semitic group in America in the 1930s that promoted the Nazi regime — the Asbury Park Press reported.

Wertheimer had come under fire from the ethics committee in 2001 when he was admonished for not recusing himself in a case in which the defendant was the brother of the sheriff’s officer assigned to the judge’s court.

He was issued a letter of caution in 2007 for telling an assistant prosecutor of Nigerian descent that most Nigerians who entered the court were in handcuffs, and for saying to a prosecutor that her jury selection of "lower-class blacks," whom he said more often have problems with transit police, were to blame for the failure to secure a guilty verdict.

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