12/31/2007New Jersey: Judge Attempts to Use Position to Evade DUI
New Jersey Municipal Court judge who threatened police officer to evade DUI ends up pleading guilty.
On Friday, a New Jersey Municipal Court judge pleaded guilty to making threats to a police officer and driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). George R Korpita, 48, ruled over traffic and other cases in Dover, Rockaway and Victory Gardens, but he found himself on the other side of the bench after being caught driving drunk on November 6 at 2:11am. Roxbury Police Officer Jonathan Edmunds had stopped Korpita's black Chrysler four-door on Route 46 West after receiving a call from a concerned motorist.
"I'm a judge, bro," Korpita reportedly said as he handed his judicial identification card to Officer Edmunds when he arrived on the scene.
Korpita urged Edmunds and Officer Matthew Holland to let him off the hook. If they did not, the judge said he would rule against them any time they showed up in his court. The officers chose instead to follow procedures and find that Korpita could not complete the field sobriety tests. The judge later blew an estimated .22 on a breathalyzer, well above the legal limit.
"I am proud to say that members of the Roxbury and Dover police departments never compromised the oath of office and never wavered in the pursuit to do what is right," Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi said in a statement.
As part of a plea agreement, Korpita will serve no jail time. Instead, he will was sentenced to three years probation, 100 days of community service, a one-year driver's license suspension, forfeiture of current and future public office, referral to the Board of Attorney Ethics, Committee on Judicial Conduct and the Pension Board, and a drug and alcohol evaluation.
This is not the first time Korpita has been accused of misusing his office. In August, stockbroker Warren Hartzman filed a lawsuit against Korpita and Rockaway police after Hartzman was jailed for several hours on May 4 for leaning on the judge's Maserati. When Korpita did not recuse himself from the case involving his own vehicle, Hartzman feared he would lose his securities license unless he paid the judge $1,484 to repair the alleged scratches and have the case dismissed.