York County district judge, facing criminal charges, still on the payroll


A Shrewsbury-area district judge continues to be paid despite being removed from court duties when criminal charges were filed against him Friday.

District Judge Jeffrey Scott Joy, 50, of 13 S. 4th St. in New Freedom, faces charges of official oppression, indecent assault and two counts of harassment over allegations that he groped a woman who had appeared in his courtroom, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's office announced.

The charges stem from an incident in which a 31-year-old woman said Joy groped her backside and her breast and licked her breast when the two were in her Glen Rock apartment in March, according to Joy's charging documents.

About the same time the charges were being filed, York County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh filed orders to fully remove Joy from all court duties.

"If a judge is facing criminal charges, he should be removed from handling all duties," Linebaugh said in an interview.

Still being paid: Since district judges are paid by the state, the state Judicial Conduct Board and the Court of Judicial Discipline have the ability to stop Joy from being paid since he was suspended from his duties. The board hadn't done so as of Friday, a courts official said.

"We've received no order to stop Joy's pay," said James Koval, spokesman for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

District judges are paid a yearly salary of $88,290.

The conduct board and the discipline court could fully strip Joy of his judgeship, which he was elected to in 2011.

Linebaugh's order also recuses all York County judges from hearing Joy's case, meaning a judge from outside the county would have to be brought in to hear it.

In April, Linebaugh suspended Joy from hearing criminal cases. That's about the same time state police launched its investigation into allegations made against Joy.

Linebaugh said suspending a judge from the bench is a first for him.

"I've never been faced with a circumstance like this before," he said.

Senior Magisterial District Judge John Zepp of Adams County will take over hearing cases in Joy's district.

The office handles cases for the boroughs of Jacobus, Loganville, Glen Rock, Shrewsbury, New Freedom and Railroad, and for Springfield and Shrewsbury townships.

Joy's background: Before becoming district judge, Joy spent 10 years as mayor of New Freedom and two years as a borough council member.

He volunteered for more than 30 years with New Freedom's fire company, spent a decade on the Southern Regional Police Commission, and coached various youth sports, according to his district judge website.

Joy has also spent many years in various paid and volunteer positions in the county's emergency services, including 21 years as New Freedom's emergency-management coordinator and eight years as a planner and trainer for the York County Office of Emergency Management, according to the website.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.