April 12, 2023
ROBBINSVILLE, NJ (MERCER)—The Supreme Court of New Jersey, Disciplinary Council, Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct filed a formal complaint against Robbinsville Municipal Judge R. Douglas Hoffman on April 10, 2023 for concerns of Impropriety, Lack of Integrity, Physical Contact and Extrajudicial Activities according to the complaint posted here.
Judge R. Douglass Hoffman has been a member of the Bar of the State of New Jersey and practicing law since 1972. He served as a part-time judge in the Municipal Court of the Township of Robbinsville and was appointed there on February 25, 2010 and was reappointed three times since in 1016, 2019 and 2022 and continues to hold that position. He also served at part-time judge in New Hanover Township/Wrightstown Borough shared municipal court and Mansfield Township/Springfield Township/ Southampton Township shared municipal court where he was first appointed on January 1, 2022.
Douglass Hoffman (the Respondent) and a Robbinsville Township Municipal Court employee only identified L.W. in the complaint to maintain her privacy were “friends” on Facebook. He often “liked” L.W.’s posts, exchanged jokes, comments, and photos, some with sexual innuendo, and discussed weekend plans with L.W. on Facebook. He also extended an open invitation to L.W. to visit him at his beach house any time she was in the area. A text message was sent to L.W. with the address to his beach house on October 10, 2022.
The complaint continues that on Saturday, October 15, 2022 the Respondent and L.W. communicated by text. L.W. arrived at the respondent’s beach house at or around 11:30 a.m. and was there for longer than four hours. They spoke on the front porch of the Respondent’s house before being invited inside for a tour. Over the next four hours, L.W. and the Respondent consumed four shots of whiskey and one to two cans of beer.
The complaint states that at one point, the conversation between L.W. and the respondent concerned L.W. intimate relationship with her boyfriend. While seated on the couch, the Respondent touched L.W.’s knee and upper thigh, without her consent, and in a manner that made L.W. uncomfortable. L.W. immediately thereafter left the Respondent’s house without further discussion and without her car keys.
The Respondent, in providing alcohol to and drinking alcohol with L.W., a subordinate employee, over several hours, while that employee was a guest in his home, and in touching L.W. without her consent, violated Canon 1, Rule 1.1, and Canon 2, Rule 2.1 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. By the same conduct, Responded demeaned the judicial office in violation of Canon 5, Rule 5.1(A), of the Code of Judicial Conduct.
You can read the full complaint below or download it from the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct website.
The New Jersey Globe was the first to report on this story.
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