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Judge Disciplined for Secretly Recording Colleagues

By William Vogeler, Esq. on January 30, 2019 11:03 AM

Everybody knows that "dropping the mic" is a boastful sign of victory, right Captain Obvious?

Wrong, at least for Judge Deborah Gross-Quatrone. The New Jersey judge must have thought it had something to do with eavesdropping.

She has been suspended for secretly recording meetings with her colleagues. She denied it, but disciplinary authorities said the red light beaming from her purse gave it away.

What Red Light?

According to the state Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, Gross-Quatrone denied taping the last of three meetings she had with an assignment judge. Bergen County Judge Bonnie Mizdol and other court officials were at the final meeting.

One of them saw the red light and pulled the tape recorder from Gross-Quatrone's purse. The judge denied she was recording the meeting.

"No! It was a gift from my parents," she reportedly said. "I'm not taping the meeting. I don't know how this thing works."

Later, she told the advisory committee that she recorded the meetings to protect herself from verbal abuse by the assignment judge. That was the real red light.

Stop There, Judge

The committee also considered concerns that the judge had asked her judicial secretary to handle personal business, like paying bills and managing travel. One time, Gross-Quatrone asked her secretary to help her son with homework.

The disciplinary group said that didn't stretch judicial ethics too far, but the recording went past the breaking point. Upon order of the New Jersey Supreme Court, she was suspended for two months without pay.

That would be the time for a mic drop. Not for the judge, but for judicial discipline.

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