N.J. Judge Apologizes in Ethics Probe

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A New Jersey Supreme Court justice has apologized for interceding with Camden County courts in a case against a youth accused of bullying his son, saying his actions created the appearance of impropriety.

In a letter to the court’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, Roberto Rivera-Soto said he was “profoundly sorry” for his actions, the Star-Ledger reports.

“Although I took those actions with innocent intent, I underestimated the capacity that my position has to influence others,” Rivera-Soto wrote in the letter.

The committee has filed a formal ethics complaint against the justice. It alleges Rivera-Soto called the police chief and asked him to file criminal charges against a youth for bullying his son.

After the youth’s arrest, Rivera-Soto called the assignment judge, telling him the case should get attention, although he wanted no special treatment, the complaint says.

Rivera-Soto states he will waive a formal hearing and stipulate that the case may be decided on the basis of the investigatory record and his statement, the New Jersey Law Journal reports.

“Those who know me well will attest that I would never use my position for any personal gain or advantage. In this instance, I was not, and never was, interested in revenge or retribution,” he wrote in the letter. “I simply and repeatedly sought a straightforward goal: that my son be left alone.”

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