BREAKING: PA Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery Suspended

Castille and McCafferyJustice Seamus McCaffery has been suspended from the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court.

The judge is being relived of his duties on an “interim basis” as the result of three different controversies.

The first is the allegation that McCaffery improperly interfered with a traffic court hearing for his wife. There are also other contentions that the judge’s wife accepted fees for outside work while employed as his assistant and that he may have tried to influence an appointment to a Philadelphia common pleas court.

The latter two allegations concerned the recent email scandal. First, that the Justice received and sent hundreds of these emails and that he threatened Justice Eakin that similar emails would be released if Eakin convince Chief Justice Castille to back off from his investigation.

The Judicial Conduct Board has thirty days to determine what action to take concerning these allegations.

Particularly noteworthy is the vehement opinion of Chief Justice Castille. As has been documented, the two judges have been in a long-time feud. For instance, McCaffery resents that Castille gets to appoint the Philadelphia positions and Castille has expressed personal distaste for his fellow judge.

As a result, the Chief Justice’s opinion should not be too surprising. Still, the venom contained in it towards Justice McCaffery necessitates that it be heavily quoted:

“It would be impossible for this Court to function effectively while Justice McCaffery sits on this Court. His so-called “lapse in judgment” lasted, at least, for many years as an adult. It is more than a lapse in judgment – it has caused unmitigated turmoil in the justice system and has indirectly cost several state prosecutors and high ranking state officials their public careers. At least several of those individuals have had the decency to resign, whereas the instigator of the pornographic emails still draws a taxpayer’s salary.”

“Justice McCaffery by his comments fails to acknowledge the significance of his “lapse” and blames others for this “lapse of judgment.” He blames the US Marine Corps for coarse language and crude jokes. He blames the US Air Force for the same conduct, even though a Reserve Colonel in the Air Force would have been court martialed for similar conduct. He blames the Philadelphia Police Department for the same, although the Police Department would never condone this type of misogynistic behavior. Finally, Justice McCaffery blames me for what he deems a “cooked up controversy” when, in fact, he was the originator of the emails sent to a government agency, and the emails were then made public by the Attorney General’s Office. This Court and I had no idea whatsoever that Justice McCaffery was using court equipment to forward this material – we do not monitor a Justice’s email. This alleged “cooked up controversy” has cost the careers of others and perhaps even several marriages. As importantly, Justice McCaffery’s conduct has brought this Court into enormous disrepute.”

“Justice McCaffery is correct in one of his allegations against me. I have been attempting to remove Justice McCaffery from this Court. In my two decades of experience on this Court, no other Justice, including Justice Joan Orie Melvin, has done as much to bring the Supreme Court into disrepute. No other Justice has failed to live up to the high ethical demands required of a Justice of this Court or has been the constant focus of ethical lapses to the degree of Justice McCaffery.”

“As a prosecutor in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, I often had the occasion to review pre-sentence psychiatric reports, although I do not claim to be an expert in the field. One pathology that I do recall, and as confirmed in a review of a prominent medical journal, describes the pathology of an individual who has the personality traits of not caring about others, thinking he or she can do whatever is in that person’s own self-interest and having little or no sympathy for others. The most telling pathology is that when that person is caught, or called out for his transgressions, that person does not accept blame but instead blames others for his or her own misconduct. Those pathological symptoms describe a sociopath. So far in the blame game, Justice McCaffery has blamed the US Marine Corps, the US Air Force, the Philadelphia Police Department, Chadwick Associates, the US Attorney and the FBI, Attorney General Kathleen Kane, now Justice Michael Eakin, and myself for the consequences arising from actions all initiated by him, but thought by him to be of little consequence: just a few “cooked up controversies” by his perceived tormentors.”

Justice Debra Todd filed a lone dissenting opinion.

Update: Justice McCaffery released the following statement:

“Today’s action against Justice McCaffery should surprise no one, given Chief Justice Castille’s relentless crusade to destroy his career and reputation. We will continue in our efforts to expose the malicious intent behind this effort to take down Justice McCaffery. We are confident that he will be cleared of any wrongdoing and returned to the bench soon.”

 

October 20th, 2014 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Harrisburg, Top Stories | 28 Comments

28 thoughts on “BREAKING: PA Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery Suspended”

  1. Al Moncrief says:

    THE COLORADO SUPREME COURT . . . “POLITICIANS IN BLACK ROBES.” (AS IT TURNS OUT.)

    For decades I refused to believe it, but it is now incontrovertibly established. The Colorado Supreme Court is indisputably a political actor. Our Colorado Supreme Court exists to serve Colorado political parties. At present, the Colorado Supreme Court is more rightly considered an adjunct of the Colorado Legislative Branch, than a check on the Colorado Legislative Branch. Rather than “truth-seeking,” the Colorado Supreme Court now sees its role as “political-outcome seeking.” Litigants successfully use the Colorado Supreme Court to achieve political purposes. In the Ralph Carr Justice Center, rather than meeting impartial guardians of the law, litigants meet their political allies on the bench.

    “I think there are many who think of judges as politicians in robes. In many states, that’s what they are.” “They seem to think judges should be a reflex of the popular will.”

    Sandra Day O’Connor

    In this article, I provide an example of the political and partisan role of the Colorado Supreme Court. I describe a case in which the Colorado Supreme Court summarily erases billions of dollars of debt owed by Colorado state and local governments. That is, one branch of Colorado state government relieves another branch of Colorado government of its legal debts.

    The case involves Colorado statutory contracts that create financial obligations on the part of Colorado governments. Over decades, political considerations induced the Colorado Legislature to mismanage those financial obligations. In recent years, the terms of those statutory contracts were deemed politically inconvenient and politically unpopular. The Legislative Branch asked the Colorado Supreme Court to discard the contracts.

    In 2010, the Colorado Legislative Branch requested that the Colorado Supreme Court grant this political favor by ignoring the Contract Clause of the US Constitution, ignoring the history of legislative mismanagement of these state financial obligations, and relieving Colorado governments of their accrued legal debts.

    In this article, I address the Colorado Supreme Court’s lack of independence, integrity, and impartiality. I provide a brief history of the efforts of the Colorado Legislature and the Colorado Supreme Court to escape Colorado governmental financial obligations. I comment on the recent (October, 2014) Colorado Supreme Court Decision itself, which summarily erased these billions of dollars of Colorado public sector debt. I highlight some of the numerous factual and logical errors that exist in the Colorado Supreme Court’s Decision in the case. I express incredulity at the Colorado Supreme Court’s willful ignorance of public pension administration, knowledge that was necessary to any court claiming to “seek truth” in the case.

    My intent in writing this article is to enhance the public record of, and further document, what I consider to be one of the greatest “crimes” in Colorado history.

    Visit the following link for the complete article:

    http://coloradopols.com/diary/64487/the-colorado-supreme-court-politicians-in-black-robes-as-it-turns-out

  2. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    @ DD:

    Your self-declaration that you won’t post any longer on a website that has moved from the frontpage of PoliticsPA is a subterfuge, for it is a self-creation that is overtly evasive.

    You continue to fail to provide a quote from “Bob” that justifies you having dubbed him “racist” and, invoking your legalistic parlance, there is no “statute of limitations” when such a high-profile charge has been challenged.

    Regarding Castille, he didn’t “convict” him of any crime, so he didn’t have to comply with rules-of-evidence that you conjure were mandated; he acted according to his responsibility [including “reporting”].

    BTW, it seems you have [correctly] abandoned the claim that my comments are politically-motivated; hope springs eternal that you will achieve more “reformation” of your aberrant thinking.

  3. David Diano says:

    Robert-

    BTW, I won’t be checking this story/thread again. It’s moved the second page of the site and I won’t waste my time on it. If you wish to respond, I won’t ever see it (nor will I follow any link to it you post elsewhere).

    The debates/discussions on this site have a time limit: how long they stay on Page 1. Once that time expires, the debate just ends without any additional points/counter-points.

    If you like mental masturbation, then by all means, continue posting on this and other non-page-1 topics, that no one else will read, and climax at the thought of having the last word.

    So, have at it.

  4. David Diano says:

    Robert-
    1) Bob’s attack was racist. I never attacked for being other than an idiot, not a racist, for denying Bob’s intent, and the overall motivation behind the Obama/Holder attacks.

    2) Neither the number nor prominence of the people McCaffery (allegedly) blamed suggests sociopathic behavior. Castille is completely out of line to jump to such a conclusion, when not only do other alternative explanations exists, but these claims of blame are hearsay.
    It was entirely inappropriate because it lacked a valid basis. Castille could have not liked McCaffery’s bald head, but that wouldn’t be a valid reason to suspend him. It has nothing to do with Castille being disingenuous by holding back, but rather his “genuine” feeling are valid in the first place.

    3) While the board has 30 days, Castille also uncuts the board, claiming it’s unable to perform its duties. But, the problem is NOT that Castille referred McCaffery to the board, but rather than he suspended McCaffery BEFORE the board even started an investigation. Also, that he compared McCaffery to a convicted felon (Melvin), despite no conviction nor formal criminal charged filed against him. Castille jumped the gun and skipped a step on due process.

    4) Yes. I dispute not only the factual foundation, but its relevance and especially the conclusions being draw from it. This is a lot of hearsay, that Castille has not documented. Given the bedrock principle of presumption of innocence, an innocent person logically would have to blame everyone else. Therefore, it is improper for a judge to substitute a more negative explanation, particularly making a medical/psychological diagnosis/declaration, when someone declares their innocence and no witness have testified under oath.

  5. @ DD:

    First, you introduced partisanship [which hasn’t been a motivation, stated or otherwise]; this is comparable to your having introduced “racism” on a prior website [attacking both “Bob” and myself…and then inexplicably dropping me, despite your claim that “ALL” attacks on AG-Holder were “racist”].

    Clearly, you project your biases upon others and, noting your propensity to introduced ad-hominem attacks, you may wish to note how thoroughly self-referential your comments actually are.

    Second, you correctly observed “One can blame others without being a sociopath,” but “One can blame others AND BE a sociopath”; in this instance the tremendous number of prominent people blamed within such a brief time-period suggests to McCaffery that he is exhibiting sociopathic behavior.

    Clearly, it was entirely appropriate for Castille to explain his rationale for suspending a colleague; indeed, it would have been disingenuous had he withheld the results of his analysis.

    Third, “The Judicial Conduct Board has thirty days to determine what action to take concerning these allegations”; it will perform a de-novo investigation.

    Clearly, Castille was discharging his responsibilities when faced with an acute ethical/professional challenge.

    Finally, you evaded answering a direct query: “Do you dispute the factual foundation for his characterization, namely, that McCaffery has [in short order] accumulated a panoply of targets for his blame-game?”

    [BTW: I had been told that McCaffery’s hosting of marital and Iggles events were admirable and, thus, I harbored positive feelings towards him, notwithstanding his political-party.]

  6. David Diano says:

    Robert-
    I haven’t made any errors to rectify, other than bothering to respond when you’ve shown an inability to understand the most basic of facts and arguments.

    1) Don’t expect McCaffery to take my advice. He’s a grown-up judge and can handle his own legal battles. I was just pointing out that if I was on that jury, it would be a slam dunk for a defamation suit against Castille.

    2) I fully expect McCaffery to be found guilty of all sorts of abuses, but AFTER he’s had his day in court. PRIOR to a conviction (or even an indictment), Castille’s comments are completely out of line for a sitting judge.

    3) One can blame others without being a sociopath. One doesn’t even have to be sincere in assigning blame, as pointing the finger elsewhere is well established defense strategy. In your case, I blame your parents.

    You fail to see that Castille’s impropriety here should completely disqualify him from serving, because you are so focused on McCaffery prurient interests (and because he’s a Dem).

    If a defendant was an accused ax-murderer, with bodies found in his basement, similar remarks by the judge in such a case would be grounds for a mistrial. So, considering that McCaffery has not been arrested, indicted nor convicted, Castille is out of bounds.

    It’s really that simple, so even you should be able to understand it. But, you can’t because you just are incapable of distinguishing right from wrong (yet, always manage to pick “wrong”).

  7. @ DD:

    Even as you continue to avoid rectifying your prior errors [on two other pages on this website], you seem to want to apply the aphorism “the best defense is a good offense” when pursuing this verbal kerfuffle; the relevant ‘graph from his statement is initiated with a disclaimer regarding his psychiatric credentials, and therefore is drawing upon his “knowledge, training and experience” as-stated.

    Illustrative of the fact that McCaffrey will not likely take your advice is the fact that he dropped his suit against the Inqy; I suspect Castille has only exposed the tip-of-the-iceberg through his statement and, thus, McCaffrey is probably not in an ideal position to unleash an attack related to which he would carry the burden-of-proof.

    Do you dispute the factual foundation for his characterization, namely, that McCaffrey has [in short order] accumulated a panoply of targets for his blame-game?

    [BTW, when the initial note was posted with intact-links, its being uploaded was delayed; this illustrates why they are intentionally broken-up.]

  8. David Diano says:

    Robert-
    Castille isn’t qualified to render a medical psychological judgement, nor are his criteria objective, without an actual report from an actual medical exam as a basis. Nothing he wrote would be considered valid testimony in any court in the country.

    Robert, every day I fear more and more for your patients, as your “magical” thinking indicates you’re more likely a voodoo doctor.

  9. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    @ DD:

    Castille based his judgment on objective data; he’s sufficiently adept and motivated to file the suit you recommend if he shares any of your perceptions.

    Thus if/when he doesn’t, the absence thereof will undermine your credibility; if/when he does, the inability to succeed will undermine your credibility.

    Either way, book-mark this page as reflecting another example of the inability of facts to buttress your wild assertions.
    It can be added to multiple prior [failed] gambits, now inclusive of two other sites where you have abandoned colloquy following rhetorical defeat [@ the hands of yours-truly].

    htt
    p://ww
    w.politicspa.co
    m/pa-gov-keystone-reportmagellan-strategies-poll-wolf-49-1-corbett-42-2/61139/#comments

    htt
    p://ww
    w.politicspa.c
    om/pa-gov-yougov-poll-wolf-50-corbett-41/60976/#comments

  10. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    @ DD:

    Castille based his judgment on objective data; he’s sufficiently adept and motivated to file the suit you recommend if he shares any of your perceptions.

    Thus if/when he doesn’t, the absence thereof will undermine your credibility; if/when he does, the inability to succeed will undermine your credibility.

    Either way, book-mark this page as reflecting another example of the inability of facts to buttress your wild assertions.

    It can be added to multiple prior [failed] gambits, now inclusive of two other sites where you have abandoned colloquy following rhetorical defeat [@ the hands of yours-truly].

    http://www.politicspa.com/pa-gov-keystone-reportmagellan-strategies-poll-wolf-49-1-corbett-42-2/61139/#comments

    http://www.politicspa.com/pa-gov-yougov-poll-wolf-50-corbett-41/60976/#comments

  11. David Diano says:

    Robert-

    Calling McCaffery a sociopath is not “objective”. Saying he is more disreputable than a convicted felon is not “objective”.

    Given Castille’s admitted bias he should have recused himself.

    From beginning to end, Castille has acted unprofessionally and outside of the basic rules of conduct. He has become a disgrace to the bench, and an embarrassment to the profession.

    McCaffery deserves his day in court, but Castille deserves a defamation of character lawsuit filed against him for his remarks in that opinion. A first year law student could win that case against Castille.

  12. Any chance of going back to 2007 and getting the Democratic State Committee to do the right thing and endorse Darnell Jones instead of McCaffery?

  13. Unsanctioned R says:

    Everyone agrees Seamus’s fraternization taints verdicts. Best to place him on leave.

  14. @ DD:

    Not only are your citations “discretionary” in contrast to the objective data invoked by Castille, but your citations could actually be more aptly applied to McCaffrey’s misconduct.

  15. John H says:

    I am disappointed. I voted for McCaffery. However since he appears to have admitted to sending pron emails to other state workers he should be impeached. His behavior is inappropriate for a Justice of the Supreme Court.

  16. David Diano says:

    Larry-
    Castille has violated the Pennsylvania Code of Civility. I’ve noted the relevant codes he has violated.

    http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/204/chapter99/subchapDtoc.html

    § 99.2. A Judge’s Duties to Lawyers and Other Judges.

    2. A judge should show respect, courtesy and patience to the lawyers, parties and all participants in the legal process by treating all with civility.

    3. A judge should ensure that court-supervised personnel dress and conduct themselves appropriately and act civilly toward lawyers, parties and witnesses.

    4. A judge should refrain from acting upon or manifesting racial, gender or other bias or prejudice toward any participant in the legal process.

    6. A judge should not employ hostile or demeaning words in opinions or in written or oral communications with lawyers, parties or witnesses.

    15. Judges should treat each other with courtesy and respect.

  17. Larry says:

    My comment was directed to David Diano, not myself. lol

  18. Larry says:

    Larry, while you’re calling someone out on his ignorance, you should be aware that the PA Bar has no authority to remove a sitting Supreme Court justice or take any disciplinary action against any lawyer.

  19. Interested Observer says:

    Perhaps Castille should have recused himself. He appears to have an unhealthy obsession with McCaffery. It seems it has been bubbling for years. While McCaffery’s email conduct might not be something to write home about, it is surely not worthy of the punishment that Castille seeks – McCaffery has done nothing wrong except show poor taste. McCaffery’s statement about exposing Eakin’s similar episodes of email seems little different than Castille making it very plain that he intended to take McCaffery down over the last few years.
    There is an electoral mechanism to handle this – McCaffery must stand for retention in a few years – in Pa we elect judges, so let the voters decide, not one man who appears to have a personal vendetta and is two months short of mandatory retirement.

  20. Unsanctioned R says:

    How many of McCaffery’s Supreme Court colleagues signed off on this opinion calling him a sociopath? I’m guessing he’s a sociopath. His statement last week can be exhibit A.

  21. David Diano says:

    Robert- Your ignorance is truly appalling. Todd points out that Judicial Conduct Board is the proper next step. Castille himself even acknowledges that is a proper first step, before then magically declaring that this case is somehow exceptional enough to breach established rules.

    He further claims that the somehow, today, the Judicial Conduct Board is suddenly unable to do it’s job.

    It is also improper for a sitting judge to declare someone who has not been convicted of any crime to be more disreputable than an actual convicted felon. This calls into question whether or not Castille is even aware of the concept of presumption of innocence.

    This is what Todd was referring to. Not that “the absence of a criminal conviction precluded this action” as you misstated and misinterpreted. She specifically referenced Melvin to draw attention to Castille’s false comparison between Melvin and McCaffery.

    Specifically: Melvin is a convicted criminal while McCaffery has had no formal criminal proceeding
    instituted.

    This is why Todd wrote that: “Even a Justice is entitled to due process.” because he wasn’t getting due process here.

    So, Robert, please stop being such an incredible @ss, who can’t see the forest because the trees are in the way.

    While I fully expect McCaffery to be found guilty on all counts, and wind up sharing a cell next to Melvin, he’s still entitled to the presumption of innocence and due process, which Castille in his blood-lust has disgracefully dismissed. Castille is a bigger embarrassment than McCaffery with this unprofessional written opinion.

    The PA Bar should look into removing Castille.

    And, as Observer points out, Castille shouldn’t been casting the first stone.

  22. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    @ DD:

    Todd never confirmed that the absence of a criminal conviction precluded this action, and it cannot be claimed that it was based solely on whatever Castille did; therefore, the Board acted on all available evidence expeditiously as is its responsibility, thereby triggering mechanisms that will honor all the rights and privileges of the individual who was targeted.

  23. Observer says:

    Castille’s holier-than-thou castigations are really rich, in light of his truly corrupt (as in SCOTUS’ quid pro quo corruption) actions in the Family Court building scandal. He has never come clean on that, has never been investigated, and has never granted a full interview on that subject. Pot, meet Kettle.

  24. Hoofin says:

    Although, this seems to be a bit of having to relive the Justice Rolf Larsen scandal of the 1990s. Time for Pennsylvania judges to be selected on merit, like in most states. The pool of supreme court candidates can come from that feeder system, if people insist on elections. If anyone can run and get elected, as is the case now apparently, prepare for more scandals.

  25. Hoofin says:

    You mean relieved, not relived.

  26. David Diano says:

    Robert- Playing the fool has become such a part of your role, that I fear you are no longer playing at it.

    If you read Justice Debra Todd’s dissent, you will see that there is a clear precedent and course of action: the Judicial Board of Conduct and the Court of Judicial Discipline.

    Castille is allowing his own (irrational) emotions to violate McCaffery’s basic rights and due process, because he doesn’t like the guy. In the process, Castille has crossed all ethical boundaries. McCaffery should immediately sue Castille for defamation for the “sociopath” remarks in an official legal opinion.

    Justice Todd doesn’t deny that there are “fact-laden accusations and alleged improprieties”. However, she points out that there has been no findings by an independent investigative body, nor have any formal criminal proceedings been instituted.

    If your reasoning ability here is any indication of your medical savvy, I wouldn’t recommend anyone go to you with even a splinter, as they might get their arm amputated.

  27. Robert B. Sklaroff, M.D. says:

    @ DD:

    You have again demonstrated how out-of-touch you are, perhaps motivated [like BHO] by ideology more than practicality; inasmuch as NO ONE will credibly adopt your reaction to Castille’s emergency effort to protect justice [based upon McCaffrey’s own statements, inter alia], it is notable that the dissenting opinion in this case was composed by a fellow-Dem.

  28. David Diano says:

    The implication of Castille’s email, by referring to McCaffery as “the instigator”, is that without McCaffery, none of these guys would have been exchanging porn emails.

    I highly doubt that McCaffery is “patient zero”.

    Second, to compare McCaffery to Joan Orie Melvin is over-the-top, as Melvin is a convicted felon.

    If Castille doesn’t know the difference between a convicted felon and someone who is “innocent until proven guilty”, and casts the convicted as morally superior, then it is Castille who should be removed IMMEDIATELY. This is completely unprofessional on his part, and should warrant a review by the PA Bar Association for professional misconduct.

    As for McCaffery’s ALLEGED abuses, he should be tried and judged. But, is is wrong for Castille to pre-judge him as guilty.

    Finally, his “I’m not a psychiatrist, but I play one in court” remarks are even more stunning. This seems libelous or slanderous (I always get them mixed up), as he’s questioning McCaffery’s mental state matches some pathology. If Castille were quoting from a doctor’s report after examining McCaffery, that would be different.

    Now, I’m not a psychiatrist either, but based upon the evidence (his own words), Castille’s lost his f*cking marbles. I don’t know if seeing all the sex images blew a fuse in his brain or gave him a stroke (or caused to over-stroke part of his own anatomy, depriving his brain of blood/oxygen), but something snapped in his head.

    I recommend that A.G. Kane order an immediate psychological evaluation of both Castille and McCaffery to settle the matter to ascertain if they are mentally fit to function in society, let alone the highest court in PA.

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