There are three open seats on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court in 2015, and over a dozen judges and lawyers have already expressed interest. The openings are a result of Justice Castille’s retirement and the resignation of former Justices McCaffery and Orie Melvin in the wake of scandals.
The Inquirer’s recent editorial, Courting Contempt, discusses the importance of holding judges to high standards, and some of the failings of Pennsylvania’s judicial discipline system in the wake of recent scandals. According to the article, “while the state's judicial conduct rules have been laudably strengthened, their enforcement remains inconsistent at best and nonexistent at worst.”
A Letter to the Editor by Lynn Marks of PMC was printed in this Sunday's Inquirer. The content of the letter can be found below:
Justice Thomas G. Saylor will be sworn in as Pennsylvania’s newest chief justice after serving seventeen years on the Supreme Court. Justice Saylor will be taking over the role as a result of his senior status on the court and in the wake of Justice Castille’s retirement.
The Judicial Conduct Board (JCB) filed formal misconduct charges on Monday against Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Michael J. Sullivan. The Complaint alleges that Judge Sullivan violated the Pennsylvania Constitution and the Rules Governing Standards of Conduct of Magisterial District Judges with regard to his involvement in the ticket-fixing scandal that occurred in Philadelphia Traffic Court.
A review of approximately 4,000 emails sent or received from 2008 to 2012 between Pennsylvania Supreme Court members and the Attorney General’s Office revealed that there were no improper emails aside from those sent by former Justice Seamus McCaffery. The report was issued by Robert L. Byer, a partner at Duane Morris.
Former Traffic Court Judge Thomasine Tynes received a sentence of 11-and-a-half to 23 months in prison for accepting a Tiffany bracelet from an undercover informant posing as a lobbyist in exchange for the award of lucrative court contracts.
William Hird, the former director of records of Philadelphia Traffic Court, was sentenced to two years in federal prison on Monday. The sentence includes one year of supervised release and a $5,000 fine. Hird previously pleaded guilty in January to 18 counts against him, including conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud, and lying to the FBI.
Court of Common Pleas Judge John W. Herron has reached the mandatory age of retirement and will be leaving his post as Administrative Judge in Philadelphia. He will soon serve as a senior judge in Philadelphia’s Orphans’ Court. Judge Herron took the bench as Administrative Judge of the trial division in 2011, and he says is proud of what he was able to accomplish during that time.
Justice Debra Todd of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has been elected to the American Law Institute (ALI). The ALI is a prestigious organization comprised of judges, lawyers, and law professors from across the world. The objective of the ALI is to produce scholarly material that is intended to advance the law.