Decided: March 7, 1974.
JAMES J. BONAFIELD, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
WILLIAM T. CAHILL, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND RONALD M. HEYMANN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS COMMISSIONER OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY OF THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY AND JOHN J. FRANCIS, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS
Conford, Meanor and Botter.
[127 NJSuper Page 150] We affirm the judgment of the Chancery Division essentially for the reasons stated in the opinion of Judge Kimmelman, 125 N.J. Super. 78 (1973), and those which follow.
[127 NJSuper Page 151]
Appellant's contention that as a "judicial officer" he is removable only by impeachment pursuant to N.J. Const. (1947), Art. VII, § III, par. 1, would if accepted leave him totally immune from removal on the charge here levelled against him -- practicing law while a judge of compensation. That constitutional provision, which subjects to liability to impeachment "The Governor and all other State officers," extends only to commission of a misdemeanor. Appellant's offense was not a misdemeanor. He concedes he is not impeachable under N.J. Const. (1947), Art. VI, § VI, par. 4, nor removable under N.J.S.A. 2A:1B-1 et seq., which are confined to judges of named courts.
The essential inquiry here is whether judges in compensation are officers or employees in the Executive Branch of the State Government. If they are, they are not excluded from the Governor's power to remove any state "officer or employee," under N.J. Const. (1947), Art. V, § IV, par. 5, by reason of the exception therein for a "judicial officer." We agree with Judge Kimmelman's determination that the latter exception was not intended to apply to officers in the Executive Branch whatever the judicial nature of their functions and that appellant is an administrative judge in the Executive Branch.