Trials & Litigation

Ethics Opinion Raps Pa. Judge for 'Beyond Egregious' Attendance Record

An attorney whose attendance record as a Pennsylvania magisterial district judge was “beyond egregious” violated both the rules for district judges and the state constitution, the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline has ruled.

Judge Maryesther Merlo called off from work 116 times during a two-year period and was frequently late when she did take the bench, the Legal Intelligencer reports in an article reprinted in New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

However, her lawyer, Samuel Stretton of West Chester, said she followed a common judicial practice of starting to hear cases about half an hour after they were scheduled, to give lawyers time to get organized and potentially reach a settlement.

“A lot of judges better start looking for another career,” Stretton wrote in a filing. “The court clearly says if you show up 10, 20, 30 minutes later you’re in disrepute.”

Related coverage: “Pa. Supreme Court Upholds Its Own Suspension of Allegedly ‘Nasty, Rude, Erratic, Strange’ Judge”

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