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Hearing canceled for suspended Shrewsbury district judge

Liz Evans Scolforo
717-505-5429/@LizScolforoYD

Shrewsbury-area District Judge Jeff Joy appeared in York County Court Wednesday morning for a pretrial conference on his two criminal cases, but the proceeding was canceled when a prosecutor from the state Attorney General's Office failed to show up.

Deputy Attorney General Daniel Dye is prosecuting the cases because the York County District Attorney's Office recused itself.

While waiting in court for Dye, defense attorney Chris Ferro told Senior Common Pleas Judge Lawrence F. Clark Jr. that it was unlike the prosecutor not to appear for a hearing. Ferro suggested perhaps Dye was unaware of the pretrial conference date.

Attorney General's Office spokesman Jeff Johnson confirmed that was the case.

"Our attorney did not receive any mailing or other notice from the court regarding today's proceeding," Johnson said. "He intends to call the court to straighten things out."

Clark said the pretrial conference will be rescheduled.

Joy, 50, of Fourth Street in New Freedom, 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.

State police allege Joy went to the woman's Glen Rock home, then touched and licked her breast and grabbed her buttocks.

On Aug. 12, state police filed additional 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, as well as official oppression and harassment.

All charges against Jeff Joy sent to common pleas court

Ferro has said the allegations against Joy are false and without merit. At Joy's preliminary hearing in September, Ferro argued that while Joy may have moral failings, the allegations don't rise to the level of criminal charges.

The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline suspended Joy without pay in mid August, acting on a petition filed by the state's Judicial Conduct Board that sought Joy's suspension.

Four months before his suspension, Joy was barred from presiding over criminal cases by York County President Common Pleas Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh. That's about the same time state police began investigating Joy.

When Joy was criminally charged, Linebaugh removed Joy from all court duties until further notice. That order also recused all York County judges from presiding over Joy's cases, which is why an out-of-county senior judge has been assigned.

Joy remains free on $50,000 unsecured bail, meaning he did not have to post any money to be released by could forfeit that amount if he fails to attend court proceedings.

His district covers the boroughs of Jacobus, Loganville, Glen Rock, Shrewsbury, New Freedom and Railroad, and Springfield and Shrewsbury townships. A senior district judge is now handling cases in Joy's office.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.

DJ Jeff Joy