A part-time New Jersey judge was arrested when cops suspected him of being drunk behind the wheel. Now, nearly a year later, he is being accused of berating the officers during his arrest and trying to use his judiciary position to get out of it.
The officers approached Judge Wilfredo Benitez's vehicle just after 2 a.m. on Nov. 12, 2016. While the car was not in motion, the cops were stopping to investigate why it was parked on the shoulder of Interstate 80.
Upon investigation, the officers confronted Benitez about being intoxicated and requested that he perform sobriety tests — this is where things started to go down hill.
Benitez, in a state of outrage, began to question the cops, asking, "I mean, what are you trying to do? I mean, (indiscernible) university, I'm a judge."
Benitez continued to deny having anything to drink, and when the officers informed him that he was under arrest, things worsened.
"I'm not a (expletive) drug addict," he allegedly yelled."I'm not a drunk."
As he was being read his Miranda rights, Benitez asked the officers if they would show him any courtesy due to him being a judge, a request which the officers denied.
Benitez then lashed out again with threats.
"You're wasting your time and you know it," he said. "I'll fight you. You know you're being a dick. I will (expletive) fight you."
Benitez was then taken to a New Jersey State Police sub-station and was issued a summons for driving under the influence of alcohol, which he was later found not guilty of by a Superior Court judge in Bergen County.
Fast forward a year and Benitez is now facing new accusations. The disciplinary counsel for New Jersey's Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct alleges that Benitez's actions during his arrest in 2016 impugned the integrity of the judiciary. They also claim that his request for the officers to give him courtesy due to his title constituted attempts to use his position for personal gain.
Although Benitez's hearing has not yet occurred, the disciplinary councils' accusations hold true. If Benitez did, indeed, attempt to use his position of power for personal gain, it clearly shows that he thinks he is above the law.
Regardless of occupation, no one is exempt from the law, and to attempt to use your title to resist arrest is certainly not becoming of a judge.