On January 22, 2016, the New Jersey Office of Attorney Ethics filed ethics charges against a lawyer employed with the New Jersey Office of the Public Defender for using his father-in-law’s social security number in 2006, without his knowledge or consent, to obtain two credit cards.  The lawyer, while admitting to most of the charges, maintained that his ex-wife and her matrimonial lawyer used the incident as “pay-back” for prevailing against them in a contested alimony matter.

The ethics complaint alleges that Raphael J. Glinbizzi, who was married at the time to Joann Glinbizzi, used the social number of Joann’s now deceased father, Emidio Lonero, to obtain a Chase credit card and an American Express Blue credit card in 2006.  In 2008, Lonero and his wife learned that a $30,000 balance had been rung up on the cards and demanded that Glinbizzi pay off the debt.  Glinbizzi reportedly paid off the cards, mainly with a loan from his parent.

In his answer to the complaint (available at the link above), Glinbizzi expressed remorse at having committed what he characterized as a single aberrational act in an otherwise unblemished career spanning thirty-three years.  He then set forth details of his financial pressures that led him to take out the two credit cards and the personal depression that resulted from the “constant belittling” from his wife Joann and her parents about his “meager” employment.

He also accused his wife Joann’s lawyer, Joseph Deming, of filing the grievance to “obtain his pay-back for prevailing against him before Judge Sivilli” in a contested matter over Glinbizzi’s alimony obligations to Joann.  Glinbizzi also said that Deming attempted to use the credit card incident “to blackmail or coerce [him] into surrendering [his] claim on” the alimony issue.

Glinbizzi claimed that Deming’s filing of the grievance had nothing to do with “duty to the profession or to right some wrong that still exists, but it was to get back at [him] for” so aggressively litigating the alimony issue.  As for his wife Joann, Glinbizzi said that “[s]he would be most pleased at taking me down professionally and personally at this time.”

Anyone who is interested in being notified in advance of any hearings on this matter may complete and send a hearing request form to the Office of Attorney Ethics in care of Barbara Cristofaro via fax to 609-530-5238.  Since 1995, attorney disciplinary hearings have been open to the public.

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project. Please send all comments to [email protected]