Justice McCaffery retires from Supreme Court amid email scandal

By Jim Boyle | Oct 28, 2014

One week after the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ordered his suspension from the

bench, Justice Seamus McCaffery has resigned his seat on the state's highest court.

McCaffery's move has put a halt on investigations into pornographic emails allegedly received by the justice and sent to employees in the attorney general's office. The Judicial Conduct Review Board disclosed in a press release that it had been investigating such allegations for months.

"Since Justice McCaffery has retired and has agreed not to seek senior judge status and not to again seek elective judicial office," the statement says, "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."

The state Supreme Court now has a vacancy in its seven-seat bench, but time is running out for the confirmation of a replacement. In order to have a new justice confirmed by the Nov. 12 senate recess, a candidate would need to submit paperwork and financial disclosures by Friday.

Senate Democrats have indicated that it would be best to wait until the start of the new legislative session in January.

McCaffery's ordeal began with Attorney General Kathleen Kane's naming of several individuals in Governor Tom Corbett's administration who had emailed explicit photos and videos on government accounts. The revelation caused five people to either resign or retire without having to admit any wrongdoing.

After disclosures that McCaffery's email account may have been involved with the explicit transmissions, Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald Castille ordered a full investigation, later releasing those findings, which showed that McCaffery had 234 emails with sexually explicit material.

McCaffery apologized for the emails on Oct. 16, but a day later Justice J. Michael Eakin released a statement saying he had received explicit emails from McCaffery, who threatened to go public if Eakin did not convince Castille to retract his statements accusing McCaffery of misconduct. Finally, on Oct. 20, McCaffery was suspended from the bench.



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