Passaic County Surrogate Bernice Toledo was suspended from exercising her judicial duties by an order of the court yesterday, nearly a month after she was criminally charged with improperly granting an executorship to a political ally.
“It is ORDERED that Surrogate Bernice Toledo is suspended from the exercise of her judicial duties, with pay, effective immediately and until the further order of the court,” Clerk of the Supreme Court Heather Joy Baker wrote.
Baker further wrote that the suspension stems from Toledo’s falsification of records and the fact that her “continued service [in office] while criminal and disciplinary proceedings are pending would pose a substantial threat of serious harm to the administration of justice.”
Prior to her suspension, Toledo, a Democrat, had been sitting in limbo since criminal charges were announced on August 26; while most judicial officers would be suspended upon the announcement of criminal charges, Toledo’s status as an elected official complicated matters.
The Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct first circulated reports of Toledo’s misconduct nearly two years ago, in December 2019. Toledo announced in February of this year that she would not run for re-election, and her term will end in January 2022.
The deputy surrogate, Tracey Crosby, will run the office either until Toledo’s suspension is listed, or until the winner of the 2021 general election is sworn in on January 1, 2022.
This story was updated at 11:40 AM.