HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Lancaster County judge will not face a court of discipline for aggressively challenging a police officer during a traffic stop and ordering him to “check the registration on this plate soon, mister.”
Pennsylvania’s Judicial Conduct Board says President Judge Dennis Reinaker ran afoul of judicial conduct rules during the April traffic stop in East Lampeter Township and his actions could support the filing of formal charges in the Court of Judicial Discipline.
However, the Judicial Conduct Board decided to resolve the matter through a Letter of Counsel, a procedure that allows the board to dismiss complaints against jurists. The board said it chose that course because Reinaker self-reported his conduct, cooperated in the investigation, apologized to the officer, and accepted responsibility for his actions.
East Lampeter police Chief Stephen Zerbe told LNP that Reinaker tailgated an unmarked police car. Police dashcam video obtained by LNP shows Reinaker getting out of his SUV after being pulled over and barking at the officer, “What do you think you’re doing pulling me over?”
He then tells the officer to check his registration.
The officer sent him on his way about 40 seconds later, saying, “Have a good day, Judge.”
During the course of its investigation, the conduct board said Reinaker consistently denied he was attempting to abuse the prestige of his office, claiming his conduct was the result of irritation at being stopped and his belief that he had done nothing wrong.
The board concluded Reinaker ran afoul of a rule that says judges at all times must act in a manner that promotes public confidence in the judiciary.