Citizen groups meet with Bar Association to discuss judicial elections

I have been a committeeperson for almost three decades—a job I enjoy EXCEPT for the job of recommending judicial candidates to my neighbors. It is extraordinarily difficult to get reliable information about judicial candidates and I’m uncomfortable making recommendations when I don’t feel I can personally vouch for these endorsements.

Last week a group of civic/advocacy organizations which endorse candidates met with representatives of the Bar Association to express our dismay at their endorsement of recently elected Common Please Judge Thomas Nocella, who has a well-documented history of ethics violations and other dubious practices. The officers of the Bar assured us they were making changes to their process which should prevent another such occurrence.

The Nocella appointment was unusual due to the last-minute resignation by a sitting judge, which allowed the Democratic Party to make an election eve appointment. Because the Bar Association recommendation is good for three years, Nocella could make his last-minute entrance into the race as a recommended candidate. Well, a lot happened in those three years, including citations by the Ethics Commission. Also, the last minute appointment of Nocella was particularly egregious as he had been previously rejected by the voters three times.

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