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October 20, 2014

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Votes to Suspend One Of Its Own Members In Bitter, Crazy Pornographic Email Tiff

There seems to have been bad blood boiling on the court for years.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice exposed as having sent and received pornographic emails, and who is accused of then trying to coerce a fellow justice, is temporarily barred from "any further judicial or administrative action whatsoever" in the court.

The Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts announced the decision Monday night against Justice Seamus McCaffery.

McCaffery will continue to be paid during the suspension, the order says. That could change in the event formal misconduct charges are filed by the state Judicial Conduct Board following a review slated to take 30 days.

...


"The most recent misconduct of Justice McCaffery — forwarding sexually explicit pornographic emails to employees of the Attorney General's Office (and, in one instance, an email depicting a naked 100-year-old woman as the target of a sexually explicit joke and a video of a woman in sexual congress with a snake that is clearly obscene and may violate the Crimes Code Section on Obscenity) — has caused the Supreme Court to be held up to public ridicule," Castille wrote. "This conduct deserves the immediate action as implemented by this court today."

...

[Another Justice, Eakin,] on Friday said McCaffery tried to coerce him into taking his side against Castille, saying he "was not going down alone."

I don't know how some dirty emails get trumped up into a reason to suspend a state Supreme Court justice, but if you read the order by the Chief Justice (Castille), you'll see that they've apparently been snapping at each other for years.

On page 5, Castille says that based on his knowledge of psychiatric diagnoses, he feels that McCaffrey's personality type is best described as "sociolpath."

So yeah, it's like that.

I have no idea what the hell's going on here but Castille's order borders on hysterical so I have my doubts about his claims.

McCaffrey's Response... Actually, McCaffrey issued this response based on Castille's latest round of accusations, prior to the issuance of the order of suspension.

But so this is what he said four days ago.

Ron Castille's statement yesterday, issued on AOPC letterhead and purporting to represent the position of the entire Supreme Court, was a lie. In fact, members of the Supreme Court did not even know about the statement until they read the publication. And it is only the latest lie in the Chief Justice’s egomaniacal mission to 'get me.' His mission began when he reported me to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over my wife’s legitimate receipt of referral fees, and that didn’t work. He has done everything possible within our Court to undermine me with my colleagues, and that didn’t work. Now, with only two months left in the hourglass of his tenure on our Court, he is trying to finish what he has been trying to do for so many years. He has been on this mission because I had the guts to challenge him on the Family Court fiasco and on what the citizens of Pennsylvania got for the more than $3 million of First Judicial District funds that were funneled to one of his closest friends. And I had the guts to challenge him on his disastrous handling of Pennsylvania's worst judicial scandal and a tragic injustice that will forever be known as the 'Kids for Cash' disaster.

Ron Castille is a Republican, and McCaffery is a Democrat.

Per this article, McCaffrey seems to have engaged in some sleazy string-pulling behavior earlier.

But for Castille, the conduct board's work has been disappointingly slow so far.

Along with McCaffery's sexually explicit e-mail traffic, the board is investigating his role in two other matters.

The first stemmed from a 2012 report Castille commissioned that found McCaffery had met with a top administrator at Philadelphia Traffic Court while his wife and judicial aide, Lise Rapaport, contested a traffic citation inside. She was acquitted.

The second arose from stories last year in The Inquirer raising questions about fees Rapaport received for referring cases to law firms while she worked in her husband's judicial office.

McCaffery has denied any impropriety in either instance, and, in his statement on the porn e-mails last week, blamed Castille for exaggerating the circumstances of both.

"He has done everything possible within our court to undermine me with my colleagues," McCaffery said.

(McCaffery has also sued The Inquirer, saying the articles about the referral fees painted him and his wife in a false light.)

Yeah, It's Not Just About the Dirty Emails: Castille seems to suspect McCaffery of a lot more than crude language.


At the end of last year, in a report Castille commissioned about Philadelphia’s corrupt Traffic Court, McCaffery was accused of using his power in an unseemly and perhaps illegal way: He had driven his wife, Lise Rapaport, to Traffic Court on Spring Garden Street for a hearing on a ticket and, while the hearing took place, summoned a top court administrator out to his car for a conversation. Rapaport was found not guilty.

With Ron Castille’s blessing, the Traffic Court report was given to the Inquirer, which did a series of front-page stories on it. Naturally, that didn’t sit well with Seamus McCaffery, who has denied any wrongdoing.

Then a second matter came up. The Inquirer wrote about fees that Rapaport, a Harvard-trained lawyer, received for referring cases to law firms while she was employed by McCaffery as his chief Supreme Court aide. Eleven of the law firms that paid Rapaport--one referral fee was $821,000--have argued cases before the Supreme Court while McCaffery has been on the bench.

When that story broke, Castille--who was first elected to the court in 1993 and has been chief justice since 2008--told reporters he was worried about "conflicts of interest and the appearance of impropriety." His opinion wasn’t shocking, but it was an unusual slapdown; chief justices of a Supreme Court almost never publicly rebuke a fellow robesman....

In mid-June, McCaffery’s trouble seemed to grow worse. The Inquirer reported that the FBI had opened an investigation into those referral fees his wife received. Meanwhile, the Legal Intelligencer wrote that McCaffery had contacted a high-level Philadelphia Common Pleas administrator last year about civil cases---and that in two of the cases, a law firm that had paid a referral fee to Lise Rapaport was involved. McCaffery's lawyer says there is no FBI investigation, but Ron Castille told WHYY that he has "no reason to believe the allegations of an FBI investigation against Justice McCaffery are not true." He added, "So I think if I was Justice McCaffery, I’d start rethinking my position on the Supreme Court."

Philadelphia Magazine says the war is partly about the power to supervise all of Pennsylvania's state courts -- power Castille doesn't trust McCaffery with.


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posted by Ace at 07:37 PM

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