PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice has asked the agencies that investigate misconduct by judges and lawyers to review all “offensive emails housed on the attorney general’s server.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Wednesday (bit.ly/1RqGTuy) that Justice Debra Todd requested the action after a lawyer hired by the high court concluded then-Justice Michael Eakin had exchanged “offensive, tasteless, insensitive, juvenile, and repugnant” emails, many with judges or lawyers.
Todd’s requests were made to the Judicial Conduct Board, which filed ethics charges against Eakin, and the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court, which makes recommendations about lawyer punishment to the high court.
Eakin’s resignation earlier this month made him the third justice to step down under a cloud in the past three years, and the second to quit over the email scandal.
Todd, a Democrat, has served on the high court since 2008 and is one of two women on the seven-seat court.
Dozens of people in the state’s legal community and in law enforcement have been linked to the email scandal, which was centered on the attorney general’s office. The emails came to light as an unintended result of an internal review, promised by Attorney General Kathleen Kane as she ran for office, into how state prosecutors handled the Jerry Sandusky child molestation investigation.
Kane has commissioned an extensive review of her office’s email by a team led by Doug Gansler, a former attorney general in Maryland. That investigation is continuing, and the paper said it should wrap up in the coming months.
“I applaud Justice Todd’s efforts to hold the network of judges and lawyers attached to these hate-filled emails accountable, a network the special prosecutor has been working to expose,” Kane told the newspaper.
Emails that were previously made public indicate that various lawyers and judges had different levels of participation, from those who originated and distributed many of the messages to people who were copied in as part of a group of recipients.
The Inquirer has said two of Todd’s fellow justices, Max Baer and Kevin Dougherty, were among those who received problematic emails. Baer received 10 such e-mails and Dougherty received three.
Other recipients were county, state and federal prosecutors and common pleas judges in at least three counties.
Kane, a Democrat, is not seeking re-election this year as she awaits an August trial on charges she leaked secret grand jury material to the Philadelphia Daily News and lied about it under oath, allegations she hotly denies.
Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, https://www.inquirer.com
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