Citation against Judge Matthew Menges withdrawn as York County DA probes other charges
York County Common Pleas Judge Matthew D. Menges was cited by York City Police for allegedly refusing to obey an officer's traffic directive, but the district attorney's office said the citation was withdrawn so an "independent and thorough" review of the matter can be done.
The summary citation, filed Thursday, Jan. 23, and withdrawn late the same day, accused the judge of nearly running over Officer Alexander Nova as he drove in a direction Nova had forbidden him to.
It happened at or near the corner of East Philadelphia and Duke streets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, according to the citation filed by Nova.
Menges was accused of disobeying an authorized person directing traffic. The citation had been marked for a $25 fine plus costs.
Ongoing roadwork on North George Street has caused traffic delays throughout downtown York City.
Nova was rerouting traffic to clear the road for an ambulance that was rushing to a local hospital and carrying a child with a medical emergency, York City Officer Derek Hartman confirmed for The York Dispatch. Hartman is the department's public information officer.
According to the now-withdrawn citation, the judge "refused to comply" with Nova's order to detour with the other traffic.
"He proceeded to travel after instructed not to, almost ran me over," Nova wrote in the citation.
Menges, 41, of Warrington Township, did not return a phone message seeking comment on Thursday.
DA's office investigating: York City solicitor Jason Sabol said the city is not releasing Nova's body-camera footage of the encounter.
"The reason for that is that the footage has been turned over to the district attorney's office for review ... to see if there would be any other appropriate charges," Sabol said.
Once an investigation is turned over to the York County District Attorney's Office, a decision about releasing the footage would be up to prosecutors, according to the solicitor.
The DA's office isn't releasing the footage at this time because it's investigative in nature, office spokesman Kyle King said. Late Thursday afternoon, the office issued this statement:
"This afternoon, the Office of the District Attorney received the citation and surrounding information from the York City Police Department regarding the incident involving Judge Matthew Menges. These materials included footage that we need to fully process and review to determine the appropriate steps in this matter. Accordingly, we have requested that the York City Police Department withdraw the summary citation so that we may complete an independent and thorough review."
York County White Rose Fraternal Order of Police President Jeremy Mayer said on Thursday he hasn't spoken with Nova and hasn't seen footage of the encounter recorded by Nova's body camera.
Mayer said he doesn't yet have an opinion about whether more serious charges are warranted but said if so, they ought to be filed regardless of who the defendant is.
"Any violation against an officer, regardless of the defendant's title or position, should have no bearing on the charges brought against that person," he said.
A Republican, Menges easily bested Democrat Sandra Thompson in November’s municipal election for York County common pleas judge. He was sworn in Jan. 3.
Before the election, a vast majority of York County Bar Association members rated Menges not qualified for the post.
Menges said bar association members didn’t approve of him because of his "Christian faith and conservative values."
His father is York County Common Pleas Judge N. Christopher Menges.
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.