The Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct (ACJC) released its decision on the matter of former Passaic County Surrogate Bernice Toledo today, publicly censuring the former Democratic officeholder and barring her from holding future judicial office.
The ACJC first made allegations of wrongdoing against Toledo in January 2020, accusing her of giving the executorship of a deceased man’s estate to a political ally instead of to the man’s cousin.
Toledo, who initially denied the accusations, was criminally charged in August 2021. She entered the state’s Pre-Trial Intervention program in June of this year, meaning that the charges will be dropped if she does not commit any further violations for a year; the judge in her case also approved a lifetime ban on public employment.
Toledo did not seek re-election in 2021, a decision she made before the criminal charges were announced, and was succeeded by fellow Democrat Zoila Cassanova.
Today’s ruling from the ACJC is separate from the criminal case. The committee wrote in its decision that it believed a public censure and a permanent ban on future judicial officeholding “to be the most appropriate quantum of discipline.”
“While we acknowledge Respondent’s reference to her extrajudicial work and volunteer endeavors as mitigating factors, those circumstances do not sufficiently mitigate Respondent’s admitted abuse of office and lack of candor to justify the imposition of a reprimand in lieu of a censure,” the committee wrote.ACJC Toledo