Responding to additional allegations filed on July 14 by the Court of Judicial Discipline, Magisterial District Judge Michael Shaw has requested that the amended complaint, which alleges that he presided over cases in which his own attorney was representing a client in those matters, be dismissed.
Read more in the Morning Times.
Old-time justices of the peace often practiced justice by a wink and a nod. Outcomes often were rooted in local custom, backgrounds of the parties, relationships and politics among plaintiffs and defendants, police and the accused and a variety of factors only loosely connected with the law.
Pennsylvania has made major strides in professionalizing the “minor judiciary” over the last 25 years, members of which are now known as magisterial district judges. More of them have formal legal training. Most counties have central courts to remove preliminary criminal matters from what were, in effect, the closed doors of the neighborhood office. Pay has been increased to help produce more qualified candidates. There is a statewide disciplinary system.
Read more in Citizens Voice.
For the first time since a sweeping new set of judicial ethics rules went into effect three years ago, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline is being urged by an ethics watchdog to find an ex-Northampton County judge liable for retaliating against staffers who complained about his purportedly abusive conduct.
The state’s Judicial Conduct Board argued in a filing on Friday that it had presented ample evidence of ex-Magisterial District Judge David Tidd’s alleged retaliatory conduct during a formal ethics trial in May, including testimony that he’d specifically requested to have two staffers transferred after coming to suspect that they’d filed a complaint against him.
Read the full story from Law 360.
A Pennsylvania magistrate judge has denied watching pornographic videos in his chambers in a response to ethics charges brought last month by the state’s Judicial Conduct Board.
In a filing Wednesday with the state’s Court of Judicial Discipline, Monroe County Magisterial District Judge Michael R. Muth said that he never openly viewed explicit videos, but he did acknowledge occasionally looking at photographs of naked women on a personal computer in chambers that was not hooked up to the internet.
Read the full story from Law 360.
Does this sound familiar?
A judge accused of viewing pornographic material on a computer in his chambers could face removal from office as a result.
Dozens of judges, prosecutors and other state officials were caught up in the scandal over lewd and offensive emails exchanged across state email servers in recent years, culminating in a heavily redacted report commissioned by ex-Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who had legal troubles of her own.
Click here to read the full story from Penn Live.
Don’t watch dirty videos at work: It seems like a common-sense rule, especially since the statewide embarrassment that was “porngate” is likely to still be fresh in the minds of Pennsylvania’s public officials.
But that rudimentary lesson—learned from the ruined careers of two state Supreme Court justices and other state officials who had pornographic emails on their government computers—was apparently lost on a Monroe County magisterial district judge who last week was hit with ethics charges.
Read more from Law.com & The Legal Intelligencer.
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Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts is a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to ensuring that all Pennsylvanians can come to our courts with confidence that they will be heard by qualified, fair, and impartial judges
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