Monmouth County New Jersey Superior Court Judge Paul X. Escandon is in the headlines again for all of the wrong reasons, as protests calling for his ouster heat up.
Back in May, 2012, former Long Branch New Jersey resident Rachel Alintoff complained to the state’s Governor Chris Christie at a town hall about Escandon’s alleged unfair and illegal behavior, pointing out that the Superior Court Judge stripped her of parental rights over her 2-year old son without a mandatory hearing.
Alintoff further claimed that the shocking move was designed to get back at her for filing an order of protection in neighboring New York State – instead of New Jersey – after her husband, Bryan, failed to get rid of a handgun that was part of a child custody order signed by Escandon.
She also complained that, even after the Appeals Court overturned Escandon’s custody ruling, the embattled Superior Court Judge denied her access to her clothing, refused to award her funds to pay her legal fees, and only entitled her to $1,100 month in child support – despite the fact that her ex-husband earned over half a million dollars a year as a Wall Street One Percenter.
Since blogging about her ordeal and uploading a video of the town hall meeting with Gov. Christie, Alintoff has attracted a groundswell of support from other divorcing women who have appeared in Escandon courtroom. So far, the movement has culminated in two boisterous – but civilized and law abiding – protests outside the Monmouth County Courthouse; the first in September, and the most recent last Friday.
The latest group of protestors, who braved the cold weather to call attention to their cause, allege that Escandon – who’s term doesn’t expire until 2016 – has systemically favored men in Monmouth Country divorce cases.
“I’m here because I don’t think the ruling against me was valid,” Susan Smith, a resident of Freehold, New Jersey , told Mark J. Bonamo of NJ.com. “I’m not looking for profit. I’m looking for proper legal procedure, without bias.”
Notably, not all of the protesters were women. Some were men who have witnessed the impact of Escandon’s allegedly unfair or illegal rulings.
“I had a friend who went before Judge Escandon here in Monmouth
As for Susan Smith, her ordeal isn’t yet finished – but her savings almost are.
“I want to appeal, but I’m pretty broke,” Smith told NJ.com. “My opponent can afford a $10,000 lawyer, but I’m still doing the best that I can. I hope that I don’t get swept under the rug.”
Smith, along with dozens of other protesters, have also asked the New Jersey ’s Supreme Court’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct to probe Escandon’s alleged bias and courtroom behavior. Should evidence of misconduct be found and established, Escandon could face a number of official reprisals, including sanctions, suspension or removal.
Escandon did not immediately return a phone call from NJ.com inviting him to comment on the protests and the allegations levied against him.