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Politics & Government

McCaffery Retires, Ending Inquiry Into Allegations Against Him

Suspended state Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery has stepped down, effectively immediately, the court said Monday.

McCaffery’s retirement, as the court referred to it, ends an investigation into allegations McCaffery e-mailed sexually explicit images to people within the state attorney general’s office and threatened a fellow justice. The Judicial Conduct Board said he promised not to try to become a senior judge or run for elected judicial positions.

Bruce Ledewitz, professor at Duquesne University School of Law, said he’s troubled the Supreme Court effectively removed a justice without proving any wrongdoing.

“The effect is, now that he’s retiring instead of fighting it, that he’s gone,” Ledewitz said. “So the effect of it is exactly what the chief justice apparently had hoped for.”

McCaffery was suspended last week by four of his colleagues on the state’s high court. He had apologized for exchanging the lewd e-mails, but said the other allegations indicated the court’s chief justice was out to get him.

Gov. Tom Corbett said at an unrelated event Monday that he hasn’t had time to consider who he may nominate to fill the vacancy on the bench. His pick would need to clear a two-thirds majority vote in the state Senate.