Indicted local judge suspended without pay

State Supreme Court acted on petition filed Thursday by Judicial Conduct Board

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

The Judicial Conduct Board is asking the Court of Judicial Discipline to suspend Magisterial District Judge Mark A. Bruno without pay, pending final disposition of his federal criminal charges.

 Magisterial District Judge Mark A. Bruno has been suspended without pay, pending final disposition of his federal criminal charges.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Friday ordered a Chester County magisterial district judge ensnared in the sweeping federal probe of alleged ticket-fixing in Philadelphia’s Traffic Court suspended without pay.

On Thursday afternoon, in response to a federal indictment, Chester County President Judge James P. MacElree II issued a brief order that said Magisterial District Judge Mark A. Bruno, one of 12 defendants in the case, had been relieved of his duties. Bruno, 50, of West Chester, is accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud, charges that expose him to up to 60 years in prison.

MacElree ordered Bruno to turn in his county-issued ID, keys, and cellphone and said Bruno cannot reenter his office or any Chester County magisterial district judge’s office, enter or modify any court records, or perform any duties associated with being a magisterial district judge. Bruno’s caseload will be absorbed by the rest of the magisterial district judges, MacElree wrote.

Only the state’s Supreme Court or Court of Judicial Discipline  has the power to suspend a judge, an action that typically follows a recommendation from the state Judicial Conduct Board, which is charged with investigating alleged ethical misconduct by judges. The Judicial Conduct Board had recommended immediate suspension without pay for six judges, including Bruno.

The state Supreme Court issued three separate suspension orders. Besides Bruno,  Judge Michael J. Sullivan and Judge Michael Lowry were stripped of their pay and “relieved of any and all judicial and administrative responsibilities as a judge.” The high court did not rule on petitions for Senior Judge Fortunato Perri Sr., Senior Judge H. Warren Hogeland, or Senior Judge Kenneth Miller.

Bruno, who has been out of town, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday and will plead not guilty, said his attorney, Vincent P. DiFabio. He said Bruno worked no more than a handful of weeks a year in Philadelphia as a substitute judge, filling in during vacations and other absences.

The indictment contains minimal information about Bruno’s alleged conduct. It says Bruno requested assistance from Senior Traffic Court Judge Fortunato N. Perri Sr. to fix a ticket for “J.M” in January 2011. During a subsequent phone call, Perri took credit for “putting” Bruno in Traffic Court, the indictment said.

 

PDF Converter    Send article as PDF   
Tags: Chester County President Judge James P. MacElree II, Court of Judicial Discipline, Magisterial District Judge Mark A. Bruno, Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Philadelphia Traffic Court, Senior Traffic Court Judge Fortunato N. Perri Sr., Vincent P. DiFabio
Subscribe to Comments RSS Feed in this post

One Response

  1. PRINCE C. ISAAC

    v.

    JAMES P. MACELREE, II
    Defendant

    Judge Juan R Sanchez Presiding

    (James P.) MacElree Harvey has also produced many of Chester County’s judges of the Court of Common Pleas, including the Honorable Juan Sanchez.

    “Chester County President Judge James P. MacElree II issued a brief order that said Magisterial District Judge Mark A. Bruno, one of 12 defendants in the case, had been relieved of his duties. Bruno, 50, of West Chester, is accused of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud, charges that expose him to up to 60 years in prison.” K. B. Shea

    Did I read this right? This is the MacElree of MacElree /Harvey, who “produced” judges including Juan R. Sanchez, the same Juan R. Sanchez who presided over a lawsuit in which MacElree was a defendant?

    Why didn’t Juan recuse himself? Or, maybe he informed the plaintiff that MacElree produced him and then asked his permission to continue as the judge? Isn’t that required? Why didn’t MacElree demand another judge? The appearance of impropriety is forbidden.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*

 

WordPress SEO fine-tune by Meta SEO Pack from Poradnik Webmastera