Judicial Conduct Board sends “letter of counsel” to Centre County judge

Written by WITF Staff Report / The Associated Press | Aug 30, 2017 9:23 AM

Centre County district attorney Stacy Parks Miller discusses the death of Timothy Piazza. (File photo, courtesty of Emily Reddy/WPSU).

(Harrisburg) -- A judge that a Pennsylvania prosecutor is accused of texting about cases both were involved with has received a "letter of counsel" from the Judicial Conduct Board. 

The letter to Centre County Judge Jonathan Grine says the actions were "serious" but don't warrant further discipline.

The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court has scheduled a Nov. 29 hearing to consider whether District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller committed professional misconduct in texts about cases with judges and by using a fake Facebook account to monitor defendants and their families.

The letter to Grine, which he signed last week, says he and Miller were in a "support relationship" as his marriage dissolved in 2014 and 2015, when the texts were made.

Parks Miller has said she's willing to answer for her conduct and looks forward to the hearing.

Excerpts from the Letter

"The gravamen of these problems is that to a reasonable person, the emotional and personal nature of the relationship between you, a judge presiding over criminal matters, and DA Parks Miller, both an advocate in your court presenting those criminal matters and a quasi-judicial officer whose duty is to decide which matters to bring into court, could lead to the charges that your impartiality could reasonably be questioned in criminal matters and that, due to the relationship, you were subject to improper influence by DA Parks Miller in your official conduct." 

"In deliberating on this matter, the Board considered your thorough cooperation with its investigation and your apology and acceptance of responsibility. The Board also acknowledged judges suffering from emotional and personal difficulties should seek support from those who are willing and able to provide such support. Nevertheless, your position as a judge places a number of constraints on your personal activity, including on any that you may have with an attorney." 

Full Text of the Letter of Counsel

08 29 2017 Press Release Judge Jonathan D. Grine Centre County by CrystalStryker on Scribd

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