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Monday, October 27, 2014

Justice Seamus McCaffrey Retires

Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery has announced his retirement, amid the state government email pornography scandal.

McCaffery has sent a letter to Governor Tom Corbett announcing his plans to retire from the bench, and the Judicial Conduct Board released the following statement:

"Based on a limited waiver by Justice Seamus P. McCaffery of the confidentiality provisions of the Pennsylvania Constitution and the Judicial Conduct Board’s Rules of Procedure that would otherwise prohibit the Board from commenting on the matters pending before it, the Board issues the following statement in light of Justice McCaffery’s retirement from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania:

Pursuant to its constitutional mandate, the Judicial Conduct Board has been investigating allegations involving Justice McCaffery for several months, including some of very recent origin which have been disclosed in the media.

If the Board were to continue its investigations and institute proceedings against Justice McCaffery in the Court of Judicial Discipline, and if it were to sustain its heavy burden of proof on any charge, the most serious sanction that could be imposed is removal from office and a bar to holding judicial office in the future. Since Justice McCaffery has retired and has agreed not to seek senior judge status and not to again seek elective judicial office, the Board has concluded that it is in the best interest of the judiciary and the judicial system of the Commonwealth to dismiss its investigations into the matters specifically referred to in the Supreme Court’s now-vacated order of October 20, 2014.

Accordingly, the Board will dismiss its investigations into these matters."

McCaffery had been on suspension after Chief Justice Ronald Castille announced that McCaffrey was involved in the scandal, having sent or received more than 200 emails containing sexually explicit content or pornography.

McCaffery apologized, calling it a "lapse in judgment."

The emails came to light during the attorney general's investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse case at Penn State. Several other people who sent or received the emails, including the former DEP secretary, have resigned.

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