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Diana C. Manning. (Photo: Bressler, Amery & Ross).

Manning named to Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct

Court name North Jersey lawyer to replace Feeney

By David Wildstein, August 31 2021 8:56 pm

The newest member of the New Jersey Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct, which hears ethics complaints filed against judges, is Diana C. Manning.

Manning, the managing principal partner at Bressler Amery & Ross, was named to a three-year term to replace Susan Feeney, whose term expired today.

Her first meeting is on Wednesday morning, when the panel will hear an ethics complaint filed against former Superior Court Judge Arthur Bergman.  The complaint was filed in October 2020, prior to Bergman reaching the mandatory retirement age of 70 earlier this year.

The Supreme Court appoints members of the nine-member committee for three-year terms and relies on them to determine which complaints are worthy of being referred to the top court to impose disciplinary action.  Three members are retired judges, three are lawyers, and three are lay members not holding public office.

The court is not bound to follow the recommendations of the judicial conduct panel.

In April, the panel found that Superior Court Judge John Russo, Jr. should be suspended without pay for three months after asking a victim if she tried to avoid being raped by holding her legs together.

Five members voted recommend Russo be suspended for three months.  Four others, including Feeney, asked that they suspension be for six months.

Instead, the Supreme Court ordered the removal of Russo from the bench – the toughest possible punishment and substantially more than the judicial conduct panel suggested.

Former Supreme Court Justice Virginia Long, who had been mentioned earlier this year as a candidate for congressional redistricting tiebreaker, chairs the panel.

Manning’s appointment keeps the current composition of the panel at five men and four women.  Paul J. Walker is the only non-white member of the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct.

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