The Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC) levied several charges of judicial misconduct against Superior Court judge Michael Kassel yesterday, citing numerous incidents in which Kassel admitted his ignorance of cases, appeared for hearings underdressed, or failed to maintain impartiality.
Kassel, a Camden County judge in the civil division, was temporarily assigned to the family division in spring 2021 and heard family court cases one day a week for two months. According to the ACJC, Kassel publicly stated his distaste for the reassignment, and repeatedly failed to properly prepare himself for hearings.
In 16 separate incidents, Kassel “remarked to litigants and their counsel appearing before him that he lacked familiarity with their case, was ignorant of the applicable law and incapable of adjudicating family court matters, and expressed dissatisfaction with the temporary assignment and the method by which that assignment was made,” the ACJC wrote.
During one hearing, Kassel reportedly remarked that “you could get a guy off the street that’s more experienced than me with this stuff”; during another, he told litigants and their counsel to “treat me like I’m a ninth grader in high school.”
The ACJC also accused Kassel of failing to wear judicial robes, propping his feet up on his desk, and admitting he “liked” the defense counsel, with whom he had a prior relationship, during one virtual hearing.