Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Charges Dismissed

A post today on the ABA Journal web page brought the site of the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline to my attention. As a result, I found an interesting case decided this May involving dismissed allegations of judicial misconduct against a Magisterial District Judge. The judge had been accused by an sanitary authority employee who worked in the same building of a series of inappropriate and undignified remarks, but the commission rejected the charges and noted that the employee had some workplace behavior issues as well:

While at work in the Nanticoke City Municipal Building, Maryann Kearney [the complainant] commonly used words such as “shit,” “bitch,” “ass,” “fuck”, the “F bomb” , “bite me,” “weird stuff,” “the Lord’s name in vain”, “the F-word and so forth”, “foul language”, “asshole,” the “F-word”, “shit,” “hell,” “son of a bitch,” “damn it.”

The employees who worked in the Nanticoke City Municipal Building belonged to a “Birthday Club.” Maryann Kearney was in charge of the Club and collected small amounts of money from the employees with which she purchased birthday cards for the employees including Respondent for delivery on their respective birthdays. These cards were passed around and signed by the employees and then given to the employee whose birthday it was.

Four birthday cards which were given to Respondent were introduced at trial. Each of these cards conveys a frankly sexual message with accompanying illustrations. Maryann Kearney selected each of these cards.

Maryann Kearney signed the card which is Respondent’s Exhibit 2 with the note “Happy Birthday to the 45 year old Monster.” The word “Monster” was Kearney’s reference to Respondent’s penis.

(citations to record omitted)

The commission noted that the atmosphere in the municipal building was very informal and relaxed, with dirty jokes and off-color language being a regular part of the workplace. The commission further found no ethical violation in the judge's employment as a fire truck operator and ordered all charges dismissed.

Question: is a magisterial district judge properly referred to as Your Majesty? (Mike Frisch)

Judicial Ethics and the Courts | Permalink

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