Shrewsbury-area district judge now suspended without pay
Shrewsbury-area District Judge Jeffrey Scott Joy has been suspended without pay by the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline.
The court issued its order on Monday afternoon and was acting on a petition from the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania. The order was signed by President Judge Robert J. Colville.
The conduct board filed a petition Thursday asking the disciplinary court to suspend Joy either with or without pay, according to Robert Graci, chief counsel for the board.
The court of judicial discipline is basically a trial court for disciplinary matters involving Pennsylvania judges, Graci has said.
Chris Ferro, Joy's defense attorney, said the decision wasn't unexpected.
"It's disappointing but not surprising," Ferro said in a text. "Judge Joy respects the board's role and accepts their initial determination. Hopefully they will reconsider the issue after the criminal matter is resolved."
Joy was charged Aug. 7 with the misdemeanors of official oppression and indecent assault for allegedly groping a woman whose boyfriend had appeared before Joy in court.
Last week, state police filed a new set of unrelated charges against Joy for allegedly offering to vacate a different woman's court fines if she modeled lingerie for him. That set of charges includes two counts of bribery in official and political matters, which are third-degree felonies.
Felonies key: It was the filing of felony charges that prompted the judicial conduct board to file a petition seeking Joy's interim suspension, according to Graci.
The state constitution allows the court to suspend judges who have been charged with felonies, he said.
Graci said there's no direct appeal from such an order.
An interim judicial suspension typically remains in effect until there's a resolution of whatever prompted the petition in the first place, he said. In this case, it would mean the resolution of Joy's felony charges. Such a resolution would prompt a final suspension decision by the court, he said.
The interim suspension process is different than a disciplinary proceeding, which would be prompted by a disciplinary complaint to the court of judicial conduct by the judicial conduct board, according to Graci.
Last week, Graci said he could neither confirm nor deny whether the board is considering filing a disciplinary complaint against Joy.
"If we file a board complaint, that is a matter of public record," he said.
The background: Joy, 50, of Fourth Street in New Freedom, remains free on $50,000 unsecured bail, meaning he did not have to post any money to be released but could forfeit the entire amount if he fails to attend court proceedings.
Ferro has previously said the allegations are false and without merit.
York County President Common Pleas Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh, in response to the first set of charges, on Aug. 7 ordered Joy removed from all court duties until further notice.
Linebaugh's order also recused all York County judges from presiding over Joy's cases, meaning out-of-county judges must be brought in to hear them.
In April, Linebaugh forbade Joy from hearing criminal cases. That's about the same time state police began investigating Joy. Senior District Judge John Zepp of Adams County is now hearing cases in Joy's district.
The district covers the boroughs of Jacobus, Loganville, Glen Rock, Shrewsbury, New Freedom and Railroad, and Springfield and Shrewsbury townships.
The allegations: In the first case, Joy is accused of going to the home of a woman whose boyfriend appeared in Joy's courtroom, then touching and licking the woman's breast and groping her buttocks, according to charging documents.
In the second case, he is accused of going to the home of a defendant in his court and offering to vacate her court fines on a summary harassment case if she modeled lingerie for him, documents state. At the time, the woman was working as an exotic dancer.
Preliminary hearings in both cases are set for Sept. 18, according to court records.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com.