Pennsylvania Judge Under the Microscope

/ 21.Jul, 2014

On July 7, 2014, the Judicial Conduct Board filed a complaint against Erie County Court of Common Pleas judge in the Court of Judicial Discipline, Stephanie Domitrovich.  Judge Domitrovich has served on the court for almost 25 years since January 1990.  Although a plurality of attorneys polled by the Erie County Bar Association voted against retaining Judge Domitrovich in 2009.  Judge Domitrovich denies the charges and her lawyers state they are “determined to expose the motivation behind the allegations.”  The complaint asserts Judge Domitrovich engaged in “impatient, intemperate, belittling, overly-critical, or disrespectful treatment” of lawyers, litigants, witnesses, and employees.  She is also accused of ex parte communications and investigations of cases.  The Judicial Conduct Board found Judge Domitrovich gave misleading responses to inquiries during the investigation.  The investigation by the Judicial Conduct Board was at the request of President Judge Ernest DiSantis.

The Board requested an interim suspension for Judge Domitrovich.  This is the first judicial conduct complaint of 2014.  Like the complaint against former Judge Lokuta of Luzerne county, the complaint against Judge Domitrovich is somewhat unusual in that it does not involve any allegations of criminal misconduct.  Judge Domitrovich’s lawyers requested additional time to respond to the complaint.

Josh J.T. Byrne, Esquire.