|Former state Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin|
The six members of the Court of Judicial Discipline unanimously found that Eakin, by exchanging "insensitive" sexually oriented and otherwise troubling emails on government computers, had undermined public confidence in the judiciary.
But they also found that any bias shown in Eakin's emails did not creep into his judicial opinions. Emails aside, Eakin's service during 20 years as an appeals court judge was "otherwise exemplary," the court found.
The court also said it would have treated Eakin more harshly had he not resigned from the court last week.
"The common thread of the emails — with their imagery of sexism, racism and bigotry — is arrogance," the court wrote.
Eakin's lawyer, William Costopoulos, said the former justice was satisfied with the decision.
"We accept the sanction imposed and will not appeal," he said Thursday. "This finally brings closure to this difficult ordeal."
Eakin, 67, a Republican who joined the high court in 2002, has apologized for the emails and said they do not reflect his character.
In the end, the judicial panel gave Eakin what he appeared to be seeking by resigning: a resolution without a public trial and without the loss of his pension.
The Court of Judicial Discipline is made up of judges, lawyers and non-lawyers who are appointed by the governor and the Supreme Court. (Continue Reading)
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Ex Pa. Supreme Court Justice Michael Eakin fined $50,000 for lewd emails; keeps pension