EDITORIAL: Joy should resign or be removed

York Dispatch

Shrewsbury-area District Judge Jeff Joy is charged with misdemeanor counts of indecent assault, harassment and official oppression, as well as two felony counts of bribery in official and political matters.

York County President Common Pleas Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh suspended Joy from hearing criminal cases back in April, around the time state police began investigating complaints from a woman who said he came to her home and groped her.

Last week, when the felonies were filed based on allegations from a different woman, Linebaugh ordered Joy removed from all court duties.

Yet Joy technically still sits on the bench — and he's still collecting his $88,000-a-year taxpayer-covered salary.

What's wrong with this picture?

So, so much.

Judges, district attorneys, attorneys general — anyone elected by the public to uphold our laws — should have the decency to step down if there comes a day they're charged with breaking them.

That applies to Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, charged with leaking grand jury testimony and lying about it under oath, and it goes for Joy, whose charging documents read like a tawdry novel.

Yes, they're presumed innocent, and both deny any wrongdoing. But even the accusations are enough to damage the public's trust in them. More importantly, it casts doubt on their offices in particular and our justice system as a whole.

Kane has resisted calls for her resignation, although a petition has been filed with the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court seeking to revoke her license. That would make her ineligible to serve as attorney general.

If Joy refuses to step down, he, too, can be removed. The General Assembly can impeach the judge or the state's Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts can kick him off the bench.

We hope it doesn't come to either of those options.

But we think the process of both should be started now.