CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Judge Thomas Placey has served Cumberland County as a common pleas judge since 2012. According to this filing with the Department of State, he is not running to retain his seat.
In June 2020, the Judicial Conduct Board filed charges against Judge Placey accusing him of screaming outbursts in the courtroom and violating the state constitution.
In a response filed with the court of Judicial Discipline, Placey admitted to the charges saying his outbursts may be linked to concussions he suffered playing college football.
The abc27 Investigators reached out to Placey’s attorney to see if his decision not to run was due to the investigation by the Judicial Conduct Board or his health.
“The answer to that question is absolutely not,” said Heidi Eakin, Placey’s Attorney.
Attorney Eakin did not respond when asked why Placey decided not to run and if he was running for another seat.
Placey’s decision not to run could impact his pending case in front of the Court of Judicial Discipline.
“The fact that someone is not running again can be properly considered in mitigation in any penalty that might be assessed,” Robert Davis, Jr said.
Davis is an attorney and adjunct professor of ethics at Widener Law Commonwealth. He says Placey’s claim of a possible brain injury will also play a huge role in his case.
“I think the respondent or defendant has every right in the world to have that heard. That is part of the policy here in Pennsylvania, is to not just to deal with ethical complaints but there is this policy generally of rehabilitation and understanding with the idea being protecting the public interest in the judicial system,” Davis said.
Placey’s term ends at the end of 2021. While his term may end before his case with the court of Judicial Discipline is resolved, if the court finds there was misconduct he could still face reprimand, fine, or loss of his retirement.
According to the Chairman of the Cumberland County Republican Committee, there are several people interested in Judge Placey’s seat.
“There are 4 to 5 persons interested. The Cumberland County Republican Committee will be doing candidate interviews this weekend and next, and the full Committee will be voting to endorse or not endorse a candidate on February 13th,” said Lou Capozzi, Chairman Cumberland County Republican Committee.
The Cumberland County Democratic Committee did not respond to a request for comment.
A pre -trial conference in Judge Placey’s case is scheduled for March 30th at 10 a.m.