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Monday, May 20, 2019

Ethics board fines former Pa. judge for texts, sex with defendant's girlfriend

Mark Scolforo
The Associated Press
Originally published April 26, 2019

Pennsylvania's judicial ethics board fined a since-retired district judge $5,000 this week for having sex with the girlfriend of a defendant, sending her salacious texts and letting his own lawyer practice before him without telling the other parties.

The Court of Judicial Discipline fined former Bradford County District Judge Michael G. Shaw and issued a severe reprimand, saying he had appeared to be genuinely contrite.

Shaw spent 24 years as district judge in Sayre, but did not run for re-election in 2017, as he was being investigated.

The court says Shaw, who was not charged criminally, appeared to be genuinely remorseful for his conduct. His lawyer in the proceedings, William Hebe, did not return a phone message Friday.

Shaw is a former police officer and is not a lawyer. Pennsylvania magisterial district judges, who are elected, do not have to be licensed lawyers. District judges set bail and conduct preliminary hearings for serious crimes, and handle minor offenses and lower-level civil matters.

Court findings say Shaw was supervising treatment court in 2014 when a repeat DUI defendant he knew enrolled in the court program. Shaw had worked for the man's father years before.

The man's girlfriend subsequently told Shaw on Facebook that she was breaking up with the man, leading to a series of messages that became sexual in nature.

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