Former NJ Municipal Judge Answers to Sexual Misconduct Charge Lack Credibility

Authorities said Nino Falcone grabbed a woman’s breast in his private practice law office in North Bergen, in August 2019.

N.J. judge faces judicial discipline after allegedly groping woman, panel says

JUN 21, 2021 | REPUBLISHED BY LINY : JAN 27, 2022

UPDATE; Jan 26, 2021: Ex-NJ Judge Falcone Can’t Explain Woman’s Groping Claim To Panel

A judicial ethics panel questioned a former New Jersey municipal court judge Wednesday about why a woman would allege that he squeezed her breasts in his law office when he claims he only inadvertently touched them on the sides, a discrepancy in their accounts that the retired jurist said was difficult to comprehend.

A suspended municipal court judge has been charged with violating judicial codes of conduct for a 2019 incident in which he sexually accosted a woman in his office, the state Supreme Court said Tuesday.

Nino Falcone was a judge for over 30 years in North Bergen’s court when he was arrested on a criminal sexual contact charge in September 2019. He was 78 at the time.

Authorities said he grabbed a woman’s breast in his private practice law office in North Bergen, in August 2019. The state Supreme Court suspended him following his arrest.

On Tuesday, the high court’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC), charged Falcone with violating four canons of the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct which call for judges to observe high standards of conduct, comply with the law and conduct their extrajudicial activities in a way that does not demean their judicial office.

The ACJC accusations also expand on the August 2019 incident, for which Falcone was accepted into the state’s pretrial intervention program, PTI, in March 2020. (Defendants accepted into the diversionary PTI program can avoid prosecution and time behind bars.)

North Bergen Municipal Court Judge Nino Falcone in a 2006 Jersey Journal file photo. EJA

The victim and Falcone knew each other, and she went to his office for her employer, who had a professional relationship with Falcone, the ACJC said. Falcone also legally represented the woman in prior matters.

After small talk, the woman started to leave the office and Falcone pulled her into his body and began rubbing her back, the ACJC says.

When the woman tried to push him away, Falcone “held her arm, squeezed her breast and told her to ‘let me touch you, let me play with you,’” the ACJC alleges.

Falcone eventually released the woman’s wrist, took out his wallet and offered her “birthday money,” the committee says. The victim refused and left the office, the ACJS says.

She told her employer, co-workers and her husband about the the assault, and reported it to a local police department. The Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office joined the investigation and they arranged for the victim to call Falcone on a recorded telephone line.

“During their ensuing conversation, [Falcone] admitted to [the victim] that he touched her ‘inappropriately’ and apologized to her,” the ACJC documents say.

Falcone completed the PTI program on May 18 of this year.

The ACJC says their investigation showed Falcone, by his treatment of the woman, demonstrated a failure to conform his conduct to the high standards of conduct expected of judges and impugned the integrity of the Judiciary.”

Falcone’s lawyer was not immediately clear, and was not listed in the ACJC document.

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