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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Judge In Ethics Trouble Over Hispanic Slur (MORE, CLICK HERE)

Local Judge Lands in Ethics Trouble Over Alleged Slur on Hispanic Lawyers
New York Lawyer - February 14, 2008
By Charles Toutant - New Jersey Law Journal

NEWARK -- An Essex County family court judge is facing an ethics inquiry - and perhaps a chewing out by the chief justice - for asking a Hispanic lawyer in open court, "When did you become an illegal alien?"

The lawyer is Ivette Ramos Alvarez, immediate past president of the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey, who has filed a complaint against Superior Court Judge James Convery with the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct.

On top of that, the Hispanic Bar is protesting the judge's remark to Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, asking him to "undertake immediate and aggressive action to insure that comments by members of the judiciary, either on the record or off the record, . . . never again fall outside the boundaries of common sense and propriety."

Rabner has agreed to meet with the bar group, says its current president, Milagros Camacho of Camacho, Gardner & Associates in West Orange.

Covery's Jan. 4 remark, captured on video camera, came during questioning of Alvarez on her client's failure to produce his annual Social Security Administration account statement, which the client claimed he hadn't received.

According to Camacho, who said she has seen a DVD recording of the hearing, Convery asked others in the courtroom if they had received their Social Security statements, and they said yes. When Alvarez said she had not received her own Social Security statement for three or four years, Convery asked her, "When did you become an illegal alien?"

Alvarez responded that the question was inappropriate and then left the courtroom. Her complaint to the ACJC followed, and the family court case was assigned to another judge.

Convery could not be reached for comment on Tuesday, a court holiday.

Alvarez, of Einhorn, Harris, Ascher, Barbarito, Frost & Ironson in Denville, declined comment through an assistant.

Camacho called the judge's remark "disturbing, saying that the term "illegal alien," though not discriminatory per se, perpetuates stereotypes when used arbitrarily against Latinos, regardless of citizenship status.

She added, "As an association, we are bound to represent all Hispanic attorneys and we found this statement to be offensive and disturbing. We believe no insult is too small to respond to because small insults become large insults and eventually they become avalanches."

Camacho said that solos and small-firm lawyer might be less inclined to stand up to such remarks than Alvarez, a well-established attorney at a good-sized firm.

Convery, appointed to the bench in 1993 and tenured in 2000, is one of the least popular judges in his vicinage, according to the Law Journal's 2005 Superior Court Judicial Survey. Lawyers ranked him 43rd out of 48 in freedom from racial and ethnic bias, and dead last in courtesy to lawyers and litigants.


Anonymous said...

I bet some old time judges are spinning in their graves (you know, the judges who cared about their sworn duty, the law, etc.)

Anonymous said...

some Judges are jerks, this is one of them!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

how about disability discrinination within the relms of the courtroom walls. Our son was denied his rights under NYS education laws by family court and spent 7 months in a children's home for nonviolent classroom misbehavior. the court failed to comply with the terms under NYS education Law section 4005. Is there any recourse for that?

Anonymous said...

Like I said, just because a person functions on a high level intellictually doesn't mean they function on a high level emotionally.

These are regular people sone with extreme personality disorders and are unfit for the job at hand.

Comments like that reveal a great deal about his character. So we already know how he feels about latinos and no one should be shocked on how he may feel about other groups.

Anonymous said...

This judge is just picking on her because of her outspokeness about the mayor of morristown deputizing police as immigration officers

Anonymous said...

It's high time this guy gets what he deserves !!! He goes outside the law when making his decisions and could care less about the true facts of the case!! GET HIM OFF THE BENCE~~

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Anonymous said...

Anybody who knows Judge Convery knows that he is an intelligent, dedicated individual who takes pride in his position and regularly renders thorough, well thought out decisions. The problem is that he, like so many of us, is a smart ass. (Is that so terrible ????) Isn't it just possible that his comments were intended to make a point (ie. EVERYBODY gets their Social Security statements each year, except perhaps, an illegal alien) as opposed to disparaging or defaming latinos???? He is not a stupid man and is well aware that his comments are being recorded. I think he should be entitled to the benefit of the doubt - the same way he gave litigants appearing before him the benefit of the doubt before rendering opinions in their cases. I've appeared before him on numerous occasions and I've both won and lost cases before him. While I wouldn't hang out with him on weekends, I had respect for his abilities and you would too if you knew him. To the alleged victims of his verbal attack - grow up. You know what he was saying and you know he would never make a racial comment like that in public. If you don't have a sense of humor in family court - you'll go nuts with all the nonsense you have to listen to all day long. I think he is entitled to an explanation before you hang him from the tallest tree in Newark (if there are any trees left in Newark).

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Anonymous said...

in reference to the blog defending this jerk is obviously like minded. He is a racist pure and true, look at his track record, no minority has ever gone into his courtroom and won their case. I'm speaking directly from the standpoint where this f-n idiot sided with a drug addict and awarded her EVERYTHING !!....Had an eye witness to all of the "plaintiff's" lies and he dismissed her from the courtroom. Then he never looked at the financial figures in plain writing , just pulled out his calculator and came up with a figure that I have NEVER EVER made in my life....regardless of the OT. My lawyer protested and he shut the case down and went with his figures.....wouldn't let my lawyer have one word said in rebuttals. Why ?........cause I'm black....that's why and he constantly got away with it for years. If one doesn't have a boatload of cash at their disposal, there's no way to right the wrong.....I know at judgement day he will get whats deserving b/c he has messed up many family's with his racist outlook

Blog Archive

See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2