Another person in the Centre County Courthouse is being scolded by Harrisburg.
On Tuesday, Judge Jonathan Grine received a “letter of counsel” from the Judiciary Conduct Board.
“Following an investigation into a complaint initiated after a referral from the Disciplinary Board...regarding conduct that took place in 2014 between Judge Jonathan D. Grine and Centre County District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, the board voted to resolve the complaint by issuing a letter of counsel to the judge,” the JCB said in a press release.
Read more in Centre Daily.
Bradford C. Timbers broke just about every ethics rule written for judges. He was charged by disciplinary authorities for coming to work drunk, attempting to fix a traffic case, screaming profanities in court and patting his secretary on her buttocks.
The troubled Allentown district justice was removed from the bench in 1997, just three years after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court created the Judicial Conduct Board to police the state's judges. District justices have since been renamed magisterial district judges, but while the title has changed, one thing has remained constant: the state's minor judiciary is plagued by misconduct.
Read the full story in the Legal Intelligencer.
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.
Former Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark Ciavarella, currently serving a 28-year sentence for his role in the "kids-for-cash" scandal, is seeking to invoke in his bid for freedom the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that made it harder for public officials to be prosecuted for bribery.
The decision in McDonnell v. United States, in which the high court overturned former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell's bribery conviction, was handed down while Ciavarella was in his fifth year of federal incarceration. The changes that McDonnell brought to prosecuting bribery cases could affect his case, the ex-Luzerne County judge claimed in court papers.
McDonnell narrowed the definition of an "official act" done for payment or a favor. Ciavarella was convicted of accepting $2.8 million in kickbacks, along with fellow Judge Michael Conahan, from the builder and former co-owner of a private juvenile detention facility. Ciavarella was sent to prison in 2011.
Read more in the Legal Intelligencer.
Gov. Tom Wolf appointed Thomas J. Elliott, a native of Girardville, as a member of the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania, it was announced in a press release Friday.
A senior shareholder and vice president of the Elliott Greenleaf law firm, Elliott is a former member of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, and is currently a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
Read more in the Republican-Herald.
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