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LOOSE ENDS: Princeton resident Dwaine Williamson is an advocate for people in Princeton, and throughout Mercer County

By Pam Hersh

Nov 29, 2017

Dwaine Williamson's Alexander Hamilton-like background has led to him working as an attorney and advocate.

I sat at a capacity-filled McCarter Theatre auditorium on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 19, and absorbed the intellectually and emotionally jarring content of seven plays about Princeton's involvement with the institution of slavery.

Even though I felt depressed by my ignorance regarding Princeton’s past, I came away feeling upbeat about the value of a communal examination of the town’s history. The plays, part of the Princeton and Slavery Project, conveyed a clear message: building up one’s knowledge of the past, rather than ripping down all evidence of the past, might be an effective medicine for treating today’s cultural, social, and economic ills.

What further cheered me was that the message about the curative value of historical examination was one I had heard a few weeks earlier in a casual conversation, rather than a play script. The words of wisdom emanated from Princeton resident Dwaine Williamson, an attorney who is making his presence felt as a prominent community advocate in Princeton and throughout Mercer County.

In the past few years, I became acquainted with Williamson — a longtime resident of Griggs Farm where he and his wife, Trina, raised their son and two daughters — through his community service. He is an officer in the Princeton Community Democratic Organization, an alternate member of the Princeton Municipal Planning Board, and a member of the Advisory Board of the Witherspoon-Jackson Development Corporation.

A speaker at many local academic and civic events, Williamson caught my attention when he moderated the PCDO gubernatorial debate earlier this year. He became my friend in reality (as opposed to the virtual world of Facebook), when he was appointed this year to the board of Mercer County Community College, where I also serve as a trustee. At a recent MCCC meeting, he described himself as a “solutionist,” who finds lessons in history that guide him to find solutions to challenging situations in his professional and volunteer roles.

“Regarding solutions, I try to take a no-blame, evidenced-based and cost-effective way to solve problems," Williamson said. "This means doing an unbiased and thorough analysis of the situation that relies heavily on historical perspective, discussing it with interested parties and then coming up with an acceptable solution."

History, he said, is key to this process, and involves learning about, and respecting roots, the roots of the nation, the roots of one’s race, the roots of one’s family. “It informs good problem solving," Williamson said. "The knowledge of one’s past helps you move forward."

Williamson has an Alexander Hamilton-style past that has shaped and continues to shape his future as a progressive leader in the community. The 46-year-old attorney with his own law practice in Trenton, was born on the island of Jamaica, immigrated to Trenton with his mother and brothers, graduated from Trenton Central High School in 1989, graduated from Georgetown University in 1993. He was the first in his family to graduate college, and he became a naturalized United States Citizen in 1994.


In the midst of the challenges of growing up, financial struggles, the Trenton street life that for a while infected one of his siblings, he found intellectual stimulation and emotional solace by reading about history. Also, he said he had great support from the teachers at Trenton Central High School. It was there where he met Trina, a Kean University graduate, and who now teaches second grade in Trenton.

Being a real “history nerd” as a kid led him to believe in America and molded his determination to “defend and strengthen the principles on which this nation was founded.” Committed to teaching the benefits of connecting history to present-day issues, Williamson mentors teenagers within the Committed and Faithful Princetonians program of the Princeton YMCA. CFP is a mentoring initiative created in 2004 by Larry Spruill to help at-risk teens achieve academic, social, and personal goals and overcome obstacles in a safe and uplifting environment.

A recipient of the 2015 Committed and Faithful Princetonians Certificate of Achievement Award, Williamson teaches a CFP class every other Thursday. “We basically examine the racial and socio/economic history of the United States — how we ended up where we are today," he says. "There is no blaming, but rather examining and providing context, so kids do not just accept their situations as part of their fate, so they do not to go along with what they perceive as ‘normal’ for their socio-economic circumstances. I want to motivate them to take control of their future and adopt a positive vision.”

Williamson, who worked in finance before establishing his Trenton-based private law practice, said he believes that “law exists both to protect us and to provide us the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness rooted in the Declaration of Independence.” He prides himself on his ability to make the complexities of law easier to understand so that his clients can apply the laws to their own circumstances and assist them in achieving the American dream.

Looking at his past history, I conclude he will remain a presence in Princeton’s future.

Dwaine Williamson
Local Lawyer Will Manage Joint Campaign


Call Us 609.924.2200

August 24, 2016

Local Lawyer Will Manage Joint Campaign

It would be an understatement to say that Dwaine Williamson, the recently announced chairman of the joint campaign for Princeton Council candidates Jenny Crumiller, Tim Quinn, and Mayor Liz Lempert, has been around. The Princeton resident, who serves on the town’s Planning Board, was born in Jamaica, raised in Trenton, worked on Wall Street, and made music videos for rap groups before becoming a lawyer and opening his own office back in Trenton.

Between now and November, Mr. Williamson will balance his busy schedule of civil litigation with working to help re-elect incumbents Ms. Crumiller and Ms. Lempert, and elect Mr. Quinn. (Former Princeton Borough mayor and Planning Board member Mildred Trotman is chairing Ms. Lempert’s individual campaign.)

“Dwaine is a rising star,” Ms. Lempert said. “He’s got tremendous positive energy. He is somebody who wants to give back to the community for all the right reasons and I’m excited and grateful that he’s willing to help us out with the campaign.”

Mr. Williamson was six years old when his family left Jamaica and settled in Trenton. “My aunt had met a tourist from Hightstown in Jamaica, and stayed in touch with this lady,” he said. “My aunt and her husband migrated to Hightstown and then Trenton. When we came around 1977, after stopping in Bermuda for a year and a half, we went straight to Trenton.”

The capital city was, and continues to be, “interesting,” Mr. Williamson said. “It had its problems — a lot of interesting issues to deal with growing up. In the community around us, there were a lot of good people, and a lot who were not so nice.”

Despite the city’s challenges, Mr. Williamson managed to thrive at Trenton Central High School. He was an honor student who played soccer and ran track, was an ROTC executive officer, an exchange student in Turkey, and president of the International Club. His impressive record won him admission to Georgetown University in Washington. The first in his immediate family to go to college, he graduated in 1993 with a degree in International Politics.

While at Georgetown, he had the opportunity to work as an intern for Merrill Lynch. Landing a job on Wall Street after graduation was a natural progression, he said. “I did marketing, and then became a broker. After that, I tried to do an Internet company, doing independent music and films. We made some music videos for rap groups. Unfortunately, I did it with my own money but I couldn’t raise the venture capital I really needed.”

Mr. Williamson went back to Wall Street to work as a broker for Salomon Smith Barney. “To be candid, I enjoyed some aspects of it — but not the sales aspect,” he recalled. “I had really wanted to go to law school straight from college, but Merrill Lynch gave me the opportunity and I got kind of mesmerized. I mean, they picked me up in a limo, I stayed at The Nassau Inn. For a kid who grew up in Trenton, that looked pretty good.”

After 9-11, Mr. Williamson enrolled at Rutgers Law School in Newark. “I said, I have one life to live and this is what I want to do. I did the evening program and worked a full time job at the same time, finishing in 2007.”

With his wife Trina, a Trenton public school teacher whom he met while both were students at Trenton High, Mr. Williamson moved to Princeton in 1998. The couple, who have three children, settled at Griggs Farm. They became friends with neighbors, former Princeton Township Mayor Michele Tuck Ponder and Ronald Ponder, and he and Mr. Ponder started a law firm together in West Windsor. After a few years, Mr. Williamson began doing criminal defense work, and opened his own office on Trenton’s South Broad Street in 2010. He now focuses on civil litigation and personal injury cases, referring criminal cases to others.

“It’s good to be working in the city where I grew up. I knew a lot of people here, and I feel like I’m helping as much as I can,” he said. “But it’s tough.”

Entering public service in Princeton made sense. Mr. Williamson began attending Princeton Community Democratic Organization (PCDO) events and is currently a second vice president for the PCDO as well as a committeeman for the Princeton Municipal Committee. He fully intends to run for public office at some point.

In the meantime, Mr. Williamson is focused on the election campaigns of Ms. Lempert, Ms. Crumiller, and Mr. Quinn. “Public service is the term for them,” he said. “These are great-thinking people who analyze and come up with the best solutions. Just to be counted among them is an honor for me. I’m an idealist and I consider myself a true American patriot. I got my U.S. citizenship in 1994, and I’m very aware of our history. I want to make the Princeton community a better place.”

Dwaine Williamson








DOCKET NO. A-1337-11T1


















January 23, 2013


Argued October 2, 2012 Decided


Before Judges Yannotti and Hoffman.


On appeal from the Department of Children and Families, Division of Youth and Family Services, Docket No. AHU 10-1407, and the New Jersey Civil Service Commission, Docket No. 2011-2510.


Dwaine Williamson argued the cause for appellant (The Williamson Law Firm, L.L.C., attorneys; Mr. Williamson, on the brief).


Jennifer V. Hoff, Deputy Attorney General, argued the cause for respondents (Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Attorney General, attorney; Lewis A. Scheindlin, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Ms. Hoff and Brandon Hawkins, Deputy Attorney General, on the brief).


T.K. appeals from a final decision of the Civil Service Commission (Commission), which upheld his removal as a senior youth worker at the Ewing Residential Treatment Center (the Center) in the Department of Children and Families (Department), and a final decision of the Acting Director of the Division of Youth and Family Services (Division)1, finding that T.K. abused a fourteen-year-old resident of the Center, contrary to N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c). We affirm.

On August 18, 2010, the Department received a report that T.K. had engaged in a physical altercation with J.S., one of the Center's residents, and J.S. had sustained a four-inch scratch to his neck during the incident. The Division's Conflict Investigations Unit (DCIU) conducted an investigation and issued a report concluding that the allegations of abuse were substantiated.

Among other things, the DCIU found that T.K.'s use of force was unjustified, inappropriate and excessive and placed J.S. at substantial risk of injury. T.K. challenged the DCIU's findings and requested an administrative hearing. The matter was referred to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL) for a hearing.

On September 14, 2010, the Department issued a preliminary notice of disciplinary action, charging T.K. with conduct unbecoming a public employee, N.J.A.C. 4A:2-2.3(a)(6), and other sufficient cause for discipline, N.J.A.C. 4A:2-2.3(a)(11). After a departmental hearing, a final notice of disciplinary action was issued, removing T.K. from employment as of September 10, 2010. T.K. appealed to the Commission from the disciplinary action and requested an administrative hearing. The Commission referred the matter to the OAL for a hearing.

The cases were consolidated and an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) conducted a hearing on the appeals. At the hearing, J.S. testified that on August 18, 2010, he was residing in Cottage 1 at the Center with approximately seven other residents. J.S. said that he had a problem with bed-wetting. At approximately 5:30 a.m., T.K. woke J.S. and told him to use the restroom. Staff members typically checked with J.S. at regular intervals during the night to determine if he needed to use the restroom. J.S. told T.K. he did not have to relieve himself. T.K. insisted that J.S. go to the restroom. He removed J.S.'s blanket and shook his leg.

J.S. stood up and told T.K. to get out of his room. He started to put on his sneakers and tried to leave the room. According to J.S., T.K. grabbed his shirt and pushed him onto the bed. J.S. felt T.K.'s nails digging into his neck. He attempted to get T.K. off of him. J.S. said that it felt as if T.K. was holding him down by the neck. J.S. repeatedly told T.K. to "get off" of him.

Another worker, Jerome Neal (Neal), testified that he was working the 11:30 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. shift at the Center. He was in the control room between Cottages 1 and 2 and heard T.K. performing a routine check of the rooms. Neal heard T.K. tell J.S. to use the restroom. T.K. repeatedly asked J.S. whether he had to use the restroom. According to Neal, J.S. cursed at T.K. and told him to get out of his room.

Neal testified that T.K. asked J.S. where he was going, and J.S. replied that T.K should not worry about it. Thereafter, Neal heard J.S. ask T.K., "Why are you choking me?" Neal ran to the room and upon his arrival there, he observed T.S. sitting on J.S. Neal said that J.S. appeared to be pushing T.K. up, and T.K. appeared to be grabbing J.S.'s shirt.

Neal said that T.K.'s actions were inconsistent with the Division's crisis management protocol, and T.K. should have waited for assistance before trying to restrain J.S. Neal tried to separate J.S. from T.K. He said he observed what appeared to be fresh, open wounds on J.S.'s neck.

On August 18, 2010, Jannie Franicevich (Franicevich) was working the overnight shift as a senior youth worker in Cottage 2. Franicevich testified that at about 5:00 a.m., she heard T.K. tell J.S. to get up. J.S. cursed at T.K. and told him he did not need to use the restroom. T.K. remained in the doorway to J.S.'s room, and he cursed at J.S. Franicevich said that the Center's protocol was to have workers wake J.S. at times during the night and ask him whether he had to use the restroom. She stated that it was part of J.S.'s "treatment plan."

Franicevich further testified that she observed T.K. enter J.S.'s room and close the door. She heard yelling and tussling. Franicevich remained in the control room, while Neal went to J.S.'s room. Later, Neal told Franicevich to bring a first-aid kit to J.S.'s room. She had been trained in emergency care and observed long scratches on J.S.'s neck, collarbone and knuckles. Franicevich believed the scratches were fresh. She administered first-aid to J.S. She also observed a nick on the side of his cheek.

T.K. testified that on August 18, 2010, at about 5:00 a.m., he attempted to wake J.S., as part of the treatment plan to deal with J.S.'s bed-wetting. T.K. stood at the door and told J.S. to go to the restroom but J.S. refused. According to T.K., J.S. started to put on his sneakers. T.K. said that J.S. grabbed him by the shirt, and pushed him on the bed. T.K. struggled to break loose but J.S. held him tightly. T.K. further testified that, as a result of a prior injury, he has an iron rod on his left side from his hip down to his ankle. T.K. stated that he was caught off-balance in the struggle.

T.K. acknowledged that a youth worker is not permitted to touch a resident's neck but he denied choking J.S. He recalled touching J.S.'s chest and stomach area, while trying to push J.S. off of him. T.K. did not recall causing any injury to J.S. but said he was not sure whether he had injured J.S. during the incident.

The ALJ subsequently issued an initial decision in which she found that J.S.'s version of the incident was more credible than the version that T.K. had provided. The ALJ stated that J.S.'s demeanor was calm and he had been able to relate the facts of the incident in detail. The ALJ also stated that J.S.'s version of the events was corroborated by Neal and Franicevich, as well as J.S.'s statement to the DCIU investigator.

The ALJ explained why she did not find T.K.'s testimony to be credible. The ALJ wrote that she did not credit T.K.'s assertion that J.S. grabbed him and threw him on the bed. The ALJ noted that Neal, the only eyewitness to part of the altercation, testified that he entered J.S.'s room and observed T.K. on top of J.S. The ALJ found that Neal's testimony was "truthful, forthright, detailed and consistent." The ALJ stated, "T.K. has a clear motive to deny the allegations and his claim that J.S. was the aggressor does not hang together."

The ALJ concluded that the Division had established J.S. was an abused or neglected child, as defined in N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c)(4), and T.K. was responsible for the abuse. The ALJ wrote:

Based on the credible testimony, I am convinced that J.S. was the aggressor in the physical contact in the bedroom. T.K.'s response to J.S.'s attempt to leave the room was excessive. J.S. was not in danger of physically harming himself by walking into the hallway and T.K. could have called for assistance if J.S. began to try to harm himself, [or] someone else . . . . Otherwise, any physical restraint of J.S. was premature. Moreover, while T.K. does not recall intentionally choking or scratching J.S.'s neck, the wounds speak for themselves. J.S. credibly testified that he felt pressure around his neck area and felt something scratch him during the struggle, while he was down on his back. T.K. was the only person in physical contact with J.S. during that time. It is undisputed that at that point, both individuals had a tight grip on one another and were struggling. However, T.K. should not have been physically handling J.S. in that manner and his conduct created an unreasonable risk of harm to J.S. J.S.'s injuries demonstrate that T.K.'s hands were in the area around his neck. In short, J.S. was injured because T.K. failed to exercise a minimum degree of care.


The ALJ also determined that the Department met its burden and established that T.K.'s actions constituted conduct unbecoming a public employee. The ALJ wrote:

T.K.'s actions of throwing J.S. on the bed, mounting him, placing his hands in and around J.S.'s neck area and physically struggling with him were excessive and subjected J.S., a minor, to an unreasonable risk of harm. Further, J.S. was actually harmed as a result of T.K.'s willful and wanton actions. Inappropriate contact with a minor [who] T.K. was supposed to protect captures the [essence] of conduct unbecoming of a public employee.


Accordingly, the ALJ upheld the Division's finding of abuse and directed that T.K.'s name be placed on the central registry for substantiated abuse findings. In addition, the ALJ affirmed the Department's final disciplinary action and T.K.'s removal from his position as senior youth worker at the Center. Thereafter, T.K. filed exceptions to the ALJ's decision with the Commission and the Acting Director of the Division.

On October 5, 2011, the Acting Director of the Division issued her final decision accepting and adopting the ALJ's decision in the abuse proceeding. In addition, on November 2, 2011, the Commission issued its final decision in the disciplinary matter. The Commission accepted and adopted the ALJ's findings of fact and conclusions of law. This appeal followed.

T.K. raises the following arguments for our consideration:




























"In light of the executive function of administrative agencies, judicial capacity to review administrative actions is severely limited." George Harms Constr. Co. v. N.J. Tpk. Auth., 137 N.J. 8, 27 (1994). When reviewing a decision of an administrative agency, we consider: 1) whether the agency's decision offends the State or Federal Constitution; 2) whether the action violated express or implied legislative policies; 3) whether there is substantial credible evidence in the record to support the agency's factual findings; and 4) whether the agency clearly erred in reaching a conclusion based on its consideration of the relevant factors. Ibid. (citing Campbell v. Dep't of Civil Serv., 39 N.J. 556, 562 (1963)). In our review of administrative agency decisions, we give due regard to the agency's expertise and superior knowledge in its regulatory field, where appropriate. Greenwood v. State Police Training Ctr., 127 N.J. 500, 513 (1992) (citing Clowes v. Terminix Int'l, 109 N.J. 575, 587 (1988)).

Furthermore, we defer to the agency's findings of fact when they have been influenced by the judge's ability to hear the testimony and assess the credibility of the witnesses. Clowes, supra, 109 N.J. at 587 (citing Close v. Kordulak Bros., 44 N.J. 589, 599 (1981)). We will not reverse an agency's factual findings unless the findings are clearly mistaken "'and so plainly unwarranted that the interests of justice demand intervention and correction[.]'" Id. at 588 (quoting State v. Johnson, 42 N.J. 146, 162 (1964)).

We are satisfied from our thorough review of the record that the decisions reached by the Commission and the Acting Director are supported by substantial credible evidence and fully comport with the applicable law. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(D). We are additionally satisfied that T.K.'s arguments on appeal are without sufficient merit to warrant discussion in a written opinion. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(E). However, we add the following.

N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c) provides in pertinent part that a child is "abused or neglected" if his

physical, mental or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired as the result of the failure of his parent or guardian . . . to exercise a minimum degree of care . . . (b) in providing the child with proper supervision or guardianship, by unreasonably inflicting or allowing to be inflicted harm, or substantial risk thereof . . . .


"Parent or guardian" is defined as "any natural parent, adoptive parent, . . . or any person, who has assumed responsibility for the care, custody or control of a child[.]" N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(a).

A failure to provide a minimum degree of care involves conduct that is "grossly or wantonly negligent, but not necessarily intentional." G.S. v. Dept. of Human Servs., 157 N.J. 161, 178 (1999). Under N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21, a person is responsible for the injuries he causes, if "an ordinary reasonable person would understand that a situation poses dangerous risks [and the person] acts without regard for the potentially serious consequences." Id. at 179.

Here, there is sufficient credible evidence in the record to support the ALJ's finding that T.K. failed to exercise the minimum degree of care when supervising J.S. and unreasonably subjected him to harm or the substantial risk of harm. T.K. contends, however, that the incident was relatively quick and the injuries that J.S. sustained were superficial. He maintains that he used reasonable force to protect himself. The ALJ found otherwise, and did so based on her assessment of the credibility of the witnesses who testified at the hearing. We have no reason to second-guess the ALJ's credibility determinations or the conclusion that J.S. was an abused child under N.J.S.A. 9:6-8.21(c).

T.K. also argues that he was "entitled" to progressive discipline and his removal was excessive. We do not agree. "A reviewing court should alter a sanction imposed by an administrative agency only 'when necessary to bring the agency's action into conformity with its delegated authority[.]'" In re Herrmann, 192 N.J. 19, 28 (2007) (quoting In re Polk, 90 N.J. 550, 578 (1982)). We may not set aside an agency's disciplinary decision unless, when viewed in light of all of the relevant circumstances, the discipline imposed is so disproportionate to the infraction that it shock's "'one's sense of fairness.'" Id. at 28-29 (quoting Polk, supra, 90 N.J. at 578).

Although progressive discipline "is a recognized and accepted principle" to be employed by an agency disciplining its classified employees in the public sector, that principle need not "be applied in every disciplinary setting." Id. at 33.

To the contrary, judicial decisions have recognized that progressive discipline is not a necessary consideration when reviewing an agency head's choice of penalty when the misconduct is severe, when it is unbecoming to the employee's position or renders the employee unsuitable for continuation in the position, or when application of the principle would be contrary to the public interest.




We are satisfied that the Commission reasonably determined that T.K.'s misconduct was sufficiently severe as to warrant his removal from his position as a senior youth worker at the Center.




1 The Division is now known as the Division of Child Protection and Permanency. L. 2012, c. 16, eff. June 29, 2012.

Dwaine Williamson


Superior Court of New Jersey,


Bertram MARTIN, Plaintiff, v. Adrianne MARTIN, Defendant.


    Decided: April 24, 2009

Bertram Martin, plaintiff pro se. Dwaine Williamson, for defendant.

This case involves the interpretation of a September 1, 1998 amendment to N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.9a which has never before been addressed in a published opinion.

The parties were divorced on January 22, 2004, and a dual final judgment of divorce, with a property settlement agreement, was filed on that same date. The parties have two children, W. who was born on November 7, 1991, and V. who was born on July 4, 1993. Under their agreement, the parties shared joint custody of the children and they equally shared parenting time. The parties agreed that neither would pay child support to the other so long as they continued to equally share parenting time.

Plaintiff subsequently began having less parenting time with the children and defendant filed a post-judgment motion to establish child support. A Title IV-D support order was entered on June 24, 2005. Pursuant to this order, plaintiff was required to pay defendant $98 per week in child support. Defendant received a cost-of-living adjustment on May 29, 2007, and plaintiff's support obligation is now $104 per week.

Over three years have passed since the entry of the original order, and defendant has now filed a motion seeking an increase in child support. Before such a request is considered, a party must normally demonstrate that specific and substantial changed circumstances have occurred since the time of the governing order which would warrant a modification of support. Lepis v. Lepis, 83 N.J. 139, 151, 416 A.2d 45 (1980). Defendant is unable to make such a showing here. However, in Doring v. Doring, 285 N.J.Super. 369, 666 A.2d 1388 (Ch.Div.1995), the court held that child support orders are subject to review by a court every three years regardless of whether there has been a change of circumstances since the time of the prior order. As discussed below, this ruling was based upon the pre-1998 amendment version of N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.9a. Defendant cites Doring and asserts that, because three years have passed since the June 24, 2005 order, she is entitled to have a mandatory court review of child support and discovery of plaintiff's financial information.

As here, the Doring decision is frequently cited in situations where a party is unable to show the type of “changed circumstances” required by Lepis. The problem is that the statute upon which the Doring decision was based, N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.9a, was amended in 1998 to eliminate the automatic three-year court review provision. Yet, because the 1998 amendment has not been addressed in a subsequent published decision, parties continue to seek the three-year court review of child support orders discussed in Doring.

At the time Doring was decided in 1995, federal law required that, in order for a state to receive federal funding for its Title IV-D child support program, “the state must have in effect laws requiring the periodic review of all Title IV-D child support orders.” Id. at 372, 666 A.2d 1388, citing 42 U.S.C.A. § 666. Accordingly, our Legislature had enacted N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.9a. This statute provided in relevant part:

At least once every three years all IV-D orders for child support payments shall be subject to review in accordance with the rules promulgated by the IV-D Agency in consultation with the Supreme Court. Such review should take into account any changes in the financial situation or related circumstances of both parties and whether the order of child support is in full compliance with the child support guidelines.

Relying upon the clear language of this statute, the Doring court properly found that all child support orders are subject to a triennial review by a court, regardless of whether there has been a change of circumstances since the time of the prior order.

However, after the Doring decision was issued, the Legislature amended the statute. L. 1998, c. 1, (N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.9a) now provides in relevant part:

At least once every three years, unless the State has developed an automated cost-of-living adjustment program for child support payments, the parties subject to a Title IV-D support order shall be provided notice of their right to request a review, which shall be conducted in accordance with the rules promulgated by the State IV-D agency in consultation with the Supreme Court. Such review shall take into account any changes in the financial situation or related circumstances of both parties and whether the order of child support is in full compliance with the child support guidelines. [Emphasis added.]

On July 10, 1998, the New Jersey Supreme Court adopted Rule 5:6B. This provides that all child support orders entered modified, or enforced after the effective date of this rule [September 1, 1998] shall provide that the child support will be adjusted every two years to reflect the cost of living. This adjustment is based on the consumer price index. Before any adjustment is made, the parties are provided with notice of the proposed adjustment and are given the opportunity to contest the adjustment within thirty days of their receipt of the notice. The rule specifically provides that the parties retain the right to seek a modification of child support orders based on changed circumstances.

Thus, child support orders are no longer subject to automatic court reviews every three years. Instead, the child support amount is automatically adjusted every two years to reflect the cost of living, with each party having an opportunity to contest the adjustment. Pursuant to Rule 5:6B, such contests are limited to situations (1) where an obligor's income has not increased at a rate at least equal to the rate of inflation or (2) where the order itself provides for an alternative periodic cost-of-living adjustment. Otherwise, parties may contest a cost-of-living adjustment or seek a modification of a prior child support order only by showing that such a modification is warranted based upon changed circumstances. The mere passage of time since the entry of the child support order is not a sufficient reason to request that a court review the order or require that the parties exchange financial information.

Applying the 1998 amendment to N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.9a and Rule 5:6B to the case at hand, defendant's request for a modification of child support based upon the passage of three years since the time of the entry of current child support order will not be considered. Defendant remains eligible for the administrative cost-of-living adjustments afforded to her under Rule 5:6B. However, in order to seek a court review of child support, defendant must establish that there has been a substantial change of circumstances since the time of the last order. Because she has failed to make this necessary showing here, defendant's motion is denied.


Dwaine Williamson
The 8 Most Influential Black Men of Trenton 2017

The 8 Most Influential Black Men of Trenton 2017

Home»Featured»The 8 Most Influential Black Men of Trenton 2017

Posted By Master Mind on Jun 27, 2017 | 0 comments

Welcome to On fire News Network annual special section profiling Trenton’s 8 most influential Black Men, as selected by the editor. The list contains many familiar names, but also many new ones.

1. John E. Harmon, Sr.John E. Harmon, Sr. serves as the President and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey. The AACCNJ performs an essential role in the economic viability

of New Jersey. As affirmed in its mission statement, the Chamber seeks to economically empower and sustain African American communities, and businesses with direct outreach programs, thereby facilitating entrepreneurship and free enterprise activity, not serving as mainly an association of allied businesses, the Chamber serves as a proactive advocacy group with a 501(c) 3 tax exemption, which is shared by the National Black Chamber of Commerce.

While providing a platform for New Jersey’s African American businesses to speak with a collective voice, the AACCNJ advocates and promotes economic diversity while fostering a climate of business growth through major initiatives centering on education and public policy.

2. Duncan Harrison Jr., Trenton Councilman at Large is known on a local and national level as a strong advocate


for empowering new leaders to engage in the political process. Recognized for his service to the community, his heartfelt efforts have empowered and expanded the perspectives of many individuals. In his professional life, Duncan is the Associate Executive Director of UIH Family Partners. UIH is a nationally-recognized pioneer in the emerging field of fatherhood programs. Duncan has also served as a seasonal police officer for the Rehoboth Beach Police Department, job developer with Mercer Street Friends and case manager for Big Brothers Big Sisters.


3. Lance P. Lopez, Sr., former President of PBA Local #105 until 2016, which is the largest law enforcement agency throughout the State of New Jersey and has approximately 5,800 members comprised of New Jersey State Corrections, Juvenile Justice and Parole Officers.  Mr. Lopez along with his wife Adela and his brother Ryan established the Law Enforcement Officers Against Prostate Cancer Foundation (LEOAPCF) on June 27, 2011.  He serves as the Founder and President of this organization which has successfully distributed over 600,000 prostate cancer pamphlets to assist in educating and making men aware of the dangers of this curable disease.

His Foundation has held educational forums with Urologists, advocacy session at local churches, fraternities, sororities, and Masonic Temples, etc.; in addition, Mr. Lopez (LEOAPCF) honors survivors at its Annual Gala; has generated an Annual Basketball Challenge Weekend with participating Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters from several States within the USA, and provides guest appearances at live newspaper and media (television and radio) networks as additional ways to promote this cause.


4.Daryl Mikell Brooks, Political activist and former radio talk show host. Co-Screenwriter/Producer of the upcoming short film

 Enhanced Interrogation. Former co host of the political talk show in Philadelphia, PA. Called Sanity Check on IQ 106.9 Fm. Featured in the New York Times, USA Today,, Philly Channel 6, WZBN News 12, Comcast News Makers 4 times, NJN, Trentonian, Trenton Times, Newark Star Ledger, National Korean Newspaper, Ernest Hancock on LRN.FM, Philly Tribune and The Nubian News. Hosted and organized five Martin Luther King Jr. non-violence summits.

On a historical note, Brooks is the first African American to run for Congress and the only person from Trenton, NJ to run for US Senate in the history of Trenton, NJ. Board Member of The Nubian News and member of The National Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).


5. Dwaine Williamson, Esq. has represented clients successfully in areas as diversified as major criminal charges, personal injury, civil lawsuits against Fortune 500 and government entities in both Federal and New Jersey State courts, appellate practice where the attorney must argue the appeal before a multi-Judge panel, divorces, DWI defenses and both residential and commercial real estate closings just to name a few.  Mr. Williamson is admitted to practice law in The State of New Jersey and in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (Federal Court).

He is a graduate of Georgetown University’s distinguished School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in International Politics.  He earned his Juris Doctor degree at Rutgers University School of Law in Newark, New Jersey.


6. Stacy Heading is the Program Director of EEJ Ministries S.E.E.D Male Mentoring Program. “Servant 

Endeavoring to Empower and Develop”. (S.E.E.D.s has been featured often in the Trenton Times and Trentonian) Stacy designs unique and various workshops to aid in the self development of today’s youth. Mr. Heading is 

employed full time at Isles Youth Build Institute, where he is the Evening Program Lifeskills Coordinator. Stacy is known in the community as a true humanitarian always encouraging and rallying the youth to give back to their communication.

Stacy has received various awards. His most recent is the Community Recognition Award given by the In Her Shoes Organization. As Program Director of the S.E.E.D. Male Mentoring Program, Stacy received the 2011 Community Change Award in Education given at the New Jersey Black Issues Convention. Stacy also received “The Man We Most Admire” awarded to him by the Women Who Means Business founded by Annette Lartigue. Stacy also hosted one of his most noted workshops “Escaping The Grips of Gang Violence” at the New Jersey Concerned Black Issues Convention.



7. Freeholder Samuel T. Frisby Sr.Chief Executive Officer, YMCA of Trenton. Consultant: Strategic Planning, Organizational Development and Professional Development/Executive Coaching. Member of the Statewide MLK Commission; Founding Member of the Howard University Alumni Association (Formerly its first Vice President); Mentor to Trenton High School Students; Leadership Trenton Alumni Fellow; Music Minister for 2 Churches; Member of the Board of Directors for Trinity Health (formerly St. Francis Medical Center); co-Chair of N.J. Partnership for Healthy Kids, United Progress Inc.Board of Directors.

Formerly:  Vice Chair of the Port of Trenton Museum Board; Chair of the Youth Investment Committee & Executive Committee for the Mercer County Workforce Investment Board -2006-2010; Ex- Member of the Artworks Board -2009-2010; Co-Chair of the Weed and Seed Steering Committee (Along with the US Attorney’s Office) -2006-2010; Ex- Member of the State Museum Board-2007-2010; Founding member of the I Am Trenton Community Foundation Board-2007-2010; Chairman of the YMCA of Trenton Board (Service Area includes Ewing, Lawrence and Trenton.

 8.Darren “Freedom” Green is known as a “life saver” and a “wind of newness” for his ability to bring people together for the purpose of an overall transformation. Freedom, as he is widely known, lives and trains individuals with the mindset that an educated and freed mind is a step in the direction called “true freedom.” Darren is a Community Advocate and Professional Speaker who has dedicated his life to empowering and strengthening people and communities. Education, Public Safety, Life Skills/Critical Thinking, Children, Financial Literacy, Civic Participation/Community Building, Culture, and Home Ownership are his primary areas of focus.

His straightforward style, hands-on approach, and life experiences have earned him not only the positions of Trenton town council President and West Ward Committeeman, but also a highly respected mentor and member of his community. Darren has been sought out by various city directors for his ability to think strategically, and for accessibility to enter those communities that do not pose as “welcoming.” Darren has received countless awards.He is currently a Facilitator for B.O.Y.D. (Building Our Youths Development; which was recognized by Mrs. Marian Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington DC, and a partner –Vice President of the nonprofit- My Eternal Family. He hosted an online TV show called “Freedom” for Trentonian TV, is the Co-Host of “On the Reel” radio, and a consultant for ‘From the Block to the Boardroom’, LLC – a program where he educates prisoners and teaches entrepreneurial skills.

Dwaine Williamson
Trenton mayor's 3 judicial nominees rejected

By Cristina Rojas | For
Email the author | Follow on Twitter 
on February 18, 2016 at 11:04 PM, updated February 19, 2016 at 1:03 PM

TRENTON -- Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson sought to shake up the municipal court by replacing three of the city's four judges, but City Council rejected his choices over concerns about the process and the non-reappointments of respected judges.

The mayor had tapped Judge Rodney Thompson, the only holdover, to become the new chief judge and council gave him unanimous approval.

But his other three choices -- Emilia Perez, William Sitzler and Geraldine Eure -- were voted down. Council President Zachary Chester and Councilwoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson were the only two who voted in favor of all of the judges.

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"When it comes to advice and consent, it's not just you present and we consent," Councilman Alex Bethea said. "We have the responsibility that when we feel your recommendations are not in the best interest of this city, we need to step up."

Jackson said the terms of the sitting judges -- Thompson, Harold George, John McCarthy and Gregory Williams -- expired last June and it was his prerogative to either re-appoint the judges or appoint new ones.

"Each of the judges served with distinction and served the city well," Jackson said.

But he wanted to bring on three new faces to create a more diverse bench and chose his nominees from a field of 17 candidates.

Advice and consent was twice-delayed, once to make sure the candidates were 100 percent vetted and a second time following the death of Jackson's mother.



Trenton judicial appointments delayed until next month

The mayor is now expected to come Feb. 2 and City Council would then vote on Feb. 4


During Thursday's meeting, the mayor said City Council's responsibility was to review the nominees and decide whether or not they were qualified.

"I'm to bring qualified people," he said following the votes. "None of you have said these individuals aren't qualified. You haven't said that tonight."

Several council members, however, said the administration was not forthcoming with all of the candidates' backgrounds and were upset that they were only allowed to review the files in City Hall.

"What I expect from you is to have full openness with me and give me the documents so I can look through them and feel comfortable that I'm actually going to vote for someone that's going to sit on the bench and cast judgement and make decisions for people that come before them," Councilwoman Marge Caldwell-Wilson said.

Councilman George Muschal said with the backlog of court cases, the city would benefit from adding judges to the current bench and opening up the two vacant police stations to use as courtrooms.

"We need you. We definitely need you. I'm not against you. The problem is ... council did not receive the information," he said.

Trenton attorney Dwaine Williamson also advocated for the city to expand the number of judges.

"I personally think that institutional knowledge is necessary for this court to function properly," he said. "I have no problem with the other appointees ... but this backlog can only get worse if you don't have the judges that have the knowledge of how to keep the number of cases moving and moving quickly."

Bethea expressed concerns that George and Williams would be replaced by Perez and Eure, who have no prior experience as judges -- though the mayor said that George, too, was once new to the bench.

Resident Bill Watson applauded the work of the sitting judges, but urged council to now look at the character and qualifications of the candidates the mayor brought forward.

"None of us have lifetime rights to any position and because we're being replaced does not mean we've done anything improper or not of high standard," he said. "Judges George and Williams represented the past. The mayor is presenting you the future. Please respect that."

Others said the court would suffer if three-quarters of the judges were replaced all at once.

"If I had the option of replacing 75 percent of my home -- the bones are strong, the foundation is good, it's been through many hurricanes -- I elect not to replace but keep going in that direction," resident Ed Bullock said.

City activist Lee Ingram said the community has built relationships with the sitting judges and would now be forced to start over.

"We don't know these people. We don't know what to expect," he said, adding that the way George and Williams ran their courtrooms balanced each other out. "We liked that balance.

"I don't want you to base your vote on the race card," he continued. "I don't want you to base your vote on someone being a woman because people's lives are on the line."

Still others spoke in favor of Perez and Eure.

Perez, who has served in the City of Newark's law department since 2008, was endorsed by the Latino Action Network, the Latino Civic Forum and the Latino Merchants Association because in a city with a large Latino population, the court would now better reflect the residents it serves.

Several praised Eure's character, legal experience and commitment to the city after Muschal brought up an issue dating back to her time on the city's school board.

She served from 1993 until 2007 when she was not reappointed by former Mayor Doug Palmer. She was one of several members who had voted against seeking legal advice when allegations of falsified student records surfaced in March 2006.

"That vote was not to not investigate," Eure said. "The vote was not to go into executive session because people had not been RICE'd. If you do something that you're not supposed to do, what impact would that have on the subsequent investigation and what impact would that have on the person?"

The final nominee was Sitzler, whose now-defunct law firm Saponaro and Sitzler has had contracts with the city and who has served as Trenton's special counsel for alcoholic beverage control matters since 2011. Last June, he returned to solo practice and was appointed as a judge in Mount Holly.

Jackson said he planned to talk with each of the council members on Friday and see what needs to be done.

Cristina Rojas may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CristinaRojasTT. Find The Times of Trenton on Facebook.

Dwaine Williamson
Bergenfield woman sues Fairleigh Dickinson overing nursing program

Bergenfield woman sues Fairleigh Dickinson overing nursing program




A Bergenfield woman has filed suit against Fairleigh Dickinson University, claiming the school misled her and others in advertising that students could complete a doctorate of nursing practice program within two years.

The suit by Marsha Oliver claims that just two of 21 students who started the program in 2007 graduated by 2009.

Oliver claims that the university, in Teaneck, lacked qualified and competent staff and failed to provide advertised resources, such as access to a writing center. The suit claims the two-year completion time cited in advertisements and the student handbook constituted a contract between the university and students enrolled.

The university declined comment on the suit as did Oliver’s attorney, Dwaine Williamson of Trenton. The suit, filed in Bergen County in August, seeks compensatory damages for tuition paid and emotional distress the plaintiff claims to have suffered.

Generally degree completion times vary. For instance, the federal government now uses a six-year measure for so called four-year undergraduate degrees. Even so, less than half of students nationally graduate within six years. Students fare somewhat better in New Jersey where about two-thirds complete degrees within six years, according to figures from the federal government.



Dwaine Williamson

Countdown to Mack corruption trial - 35 days: City attorney weighs in on Mack's trial



By Shaheed M. Morris, For The Trentonian


Monday, December 2, 2013



TRENTON — With one month and a few days left until Trenton Mayor Tony F. Mack’s public corruption trial begins, the mayor’s defense took a major blow when U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp denied the defense’s request to toss out all wiretap evidence.

Mark G. Davis, a court-appointed attorney representing the mayor, filed several pretrial motions, but out of the 14 he submitted only a few went in his favor. Judge Shipp denied four motions; two were deferred to a later date.

This is Davis’ first time representing an elected official on corruption charges in federal court. In an interview with The Trentonian in his South Broad Street office, Dwaine A. Williamson, a local criminal defense attorney, said Davis’ inexperience in federal court won’t be an issue.

“Davis isn’t as green as people keep saying,” Williamson said. “There’s not much of a difference in state cases compared to federal cases besides the laws. Davis is an extremely smart guy and will do everything possible to give the mayor adequate representation.”

When asked if a possible last minute plea deal could be in the works between the defense and government, Williamson said: “A plea deal is always on the table. There’s usually a plea cutoff date before a trial date is set. A judge can overrule the cutoff date, but I strongly believe this case will go to trial.”

The mayor’s attorney stated publicly that the federal prosecutors approached the mayor in January 2011 to become a cooperating witness, but the mayor “blew them off.”

Williamson explained why the mayor may have passed on the offer.

“The feds don’t like to go to trial,” Williamson said. “They run the risk of losing a case. The feds like to bully people with their strong-arm tactics. They will continue to make a plea deal look more enticing.”

Asked what he believes is the best defense scenario for the mayor since the majority of the government’s alleged evidence will stand.

“The defense must be able to put forth a strong and persuasive story to cast some doubt in the jurors’ minds to get a deadlocked jury,” Williamson said. “The defense must win this case in the jury selection.”

Responding to whether or not the race card or an entrapment defense could play a role in the mayor’s trial, he said.

“The race card may come up if it will benefit the client, depending on the demographics of the jury,” Williamson said. “Entrapment defenses are too risky. Even with the government setting up the scheme with a phony developer.”

Williamson offered an inside look on what federal prosecutors will argue.

“The feds will try to overwhelm the jury with their evidence and video surveillance in opening arguments,” he said. “They will spend hours preparing their witnesses.”

As for the defense, Williamson said. “The defense must craft their message into something the jurors can see or hear to counter the government’s large amount of alleged evidence.”

Williamson continued, “In the end, jurors will look at the evidence. The job of a good trial attorney is to poke holes in the government’s argument, and try to sway one juror. It’s all about playing to the jury at this stage.”

However, he said, “The mayor has an uphill battle. I’m sure the mayor’s attorney has some hidden weapons.”

Jury selections will begin on Jan. 6, 2014.

The Trentonian will continue its in-depth coverage leading up to the mayor’s corruption trial during and after. For the latest coverage, check out the countdown updates every day.




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Dwaine Williamson