The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board announced March 1 that it has filed formal charges against former Philadelphia Traffic Court Judge Willie F. Singletary, the controversial jurist who is alleged to have shown camera phone photos of his penis to a female court staffer.
In a notice of the filing of the charges that was sent to Singletary, and made publicly available on the board’s website, the agency states that probable cause exists to charge Singletary with violating both the Pennsylvania Constitution and the Rules Governing the Standards of Conduct of Magisterial District Judges.
The notice states that the charges will move forward in Pennsylvania’s Court of Judicial Discipline.
If found guilty of the charges, Singletary can face reprimand, suspension or removal from the bench.
Singletary has the right to be represented by legal counsel at a yet unscheduled hearing on the matter.
Singletary, who was elected Philadelphia Traffic Court judge in 2007, and began serving on the bench in early 2008, was suspended without pay earlier this year after allegations surfaced that he showed photographs of his genitals to a female court cashier.
On Wednesday, local media reported that Singletary turned in his resignation to Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Gary Glazer, who is currently the acting administrative judge overseeing Traffic Court.
The notice sent to Singletary that informs him of the formal charges being filed by the Judicial Conduct Board contains a five-page complaint detailing the alleged incident that led to the charges.
According to the complaint, Singletary, while working the night shift at Traffic Court on Dec. 19, 2011, approached the woman, only identified as “F” in the complaint, and began showing her photos contained on his cell phone.
The photos included pictures of Singletary’s two daughters in a hot tub or bubble bath, images of himself before going to church, a photograph of Singletary’s BMW automobile and an unidentified woman wearing short shorts.
Singletary then showed “F” two pictures of his erect penis, asking her, “Do you like that?” according to the complaint.
The woman then attempted to turn her attention from Singletary, but her ignoring him only got him agitated.
“Who you giving your time to?” Singletary said to the woman, according to the complaint. “It is my time right now.”
The following day, “F” reported the incident to a police officer stationed at Traffic Court. The day after that, the victim reported the incident to Common Pleas Court Judge Glazer.
On Dec. 22, the complaint states, Glazer assigned Singletary’s pending cases to other Traffic Court judges. Glazer also told Singletary he was prohibited from entering the court building.
Then, on Jan. 5, Singletary was suspended by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The complaint states that Singletary submitted his resignation to Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille on Feb. 27.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has reported, however, that under state law, a judge must submit his resignation to the governor. It is not clear if that has happened as of yet.
Singletary was controversial before the alleged photo incident. When he was campaigning for Traffic Court Judge, he was caught on video pledging to offer favorable treatment to motorists during a biker rally if they donated money to his campaign.
Singletary was merely reprimanded for the incident, since he wasn’t technically an elected judge at that point.
There was also controversy surrounding the fact that Singletary, a Traffic Court judge, had himself amassed more than $11,000 in traffic fines and lost his driver’s license through 2011.