Former York County judge facing DUI charge

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
York attorney Tom Kelley

A prominent local attorney and former York County Common Pleas judge is facing a drunken driving charge after being pulled over in York City last month for allegedly speeding.

Thomas H. Kelley, 55, of the 100 block of East Philadelphia Street, will be charged with the misdemeanors of driving under the influence and DUI/highest rate of alcohol, as well as the summary offense of driving at an unsafe speed, according to court records.

His preliminary hearing before District Judge Linda Williams is set for Aug. 13. Kelley was sent a summons by mail and will be arraigned and have bail set at the time of the hearing, court records indicate.

Kelley, in a statement, said he was publicly apologizing "to the citizens of York, the police, my clients, the Legal community, and last, but not least, my friends and family."

The statement, in which Kelley wrote that he's deeply regretful, continues:

"My clients often make mistakes for which they can be forgiven. After 30 years in the Legal field I should have learned from theirs — failing to do so is sheer lunacy.

"Real proof of my shame and remorse will be to never let something like this happen again."

According to charging documents filed Tuesday, June 18, York City Police pulled over Kelley about 9 p.m. May 29 in the 200 block of North George Street for driving at an unsafe speed.

An officer heard Kelley's Mercedes-Benz accelerate, then saw it traveling at a high rate of speed, heading west toward the Philadelphia Street intersection, documents state.

Speed not 'prudent': The road was wet, police said, and the speed at which Kelley was driving "was greater than reasonable and prudent under these conditions as the area is heavily traveled by pedestrian traffic who cross the street regularly," according to charging documents.

After being pulled over, Kelley agreed to perform field-sobriety tests after an officer smelled alcohol on his breath, documents state.

Based on those tests, he was arrested and taken to the county's central booking unit, where he submitted to a blood test, police said.

His blood alcohol level was later determined to be 0.228%, charging documents allege. In Pennsylvania, an adult is driving drunk at 0.08%.

It's unclear whether the York County District Attorney's Office will refer Kelley's case to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office for prosecution. If that happens, it would be because the DA's office determines a conflict of interest — or at least the appearance of one — exists.

Kyle King, spokesman for the DA's office, said that decision hasn't been made.

"We have not yet had the opportunity to review the charging documents," King said on Friday, June 21.

In the news: Kelley made news in 2011 when former assistant public defender Janan Tallo, who had dated Kelley, was granted a protection from abuse order against him, alleging he broke her elbow during an argument at his former home in York Township.

The state attorney general's office determine no charges should be filed against Kelley, and he admitted no wrongdoing.

In January 2014, he was cited by York Area Regional Police for hitting a fire hydrant and failing to notify police. He paid fines totaling nearly $600.

During his tenure at the York County District Attorney's Office, Kelley rose to second in command under former District Attorney Stan Rebert.

He prosecuted three murder cases in which the death penalty was handed down — for murderers Kevin Dowling, Milton Montalvo and Noel Montalvo — and also was a lead prosecutor in the prosecutions of 1969 race-riots murderers.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.