On Wednesday, February 22, 2023, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline dismissed the motion for reconsideration of the sanction filed by the Judicial Conduct Board against Michael Cabry. judge for Chester County Magisterial District 15-3-06

The case is entitled “In the matter of Michael Cabry” with case no. 2 JD 21.

The charges cited Rule 1.1 of the Rules Governing Standards of Conduct of Magisterial District Judges and Article V. 17(b) of the Constitution of Pennsylvania.

Requiring magisterial district judges to comply with the law.

Violation of the law by a judge violated this section of the Constitution as well as the particular rule at issue.

On January 31, 2023, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline issued a severe reprimand against Judge Cabry for his alleged use of campaign funds for personal interests and for improperly accounting for disbursing the funds.

The filing states:

“Former Magisterial District Judge Michael Cabry committed crimes in falsely swearing to the truth of his campaign report and took over $3,000 in a manner in which he was not entitled. He also resigned and admitted his misconduct. The personal losses he suffered along with his sloppy campaign accounting do not excuse, his misconduct. Magisterial District Judge Michael Cabry testified under oath that he would never seek judicial office again. This Court holds him to this and accepts his sworn promise. Accordingly, this Court of Judicial Discipline issues a severe reprimand to Former Magisterial District Judge Michael Cabry.”

Unsatisfied with the order, the Judicial Conduct Board on February 3, 2023, filed a Motion for Reconsideration of Sanction. In the said motion, the Judicial Board argued that the court’s sanction constituted an abuse of discretion because it fails to meet the court’s institutional obligation to punish the respondent, “to deter future judicial misconduct, and to re-establish the probity of, and public trust in, former Judge Cabry’s court.” Based on this assessment, the Judicial Board requested the court to grant its motion for reconsideration.

The filing continues:

“WHEREFORE, as set forth in the proposed order attached to this pleading, it is respectfully requested that this Honorable Court specifically grant the Board’s motion for reconsideration within 30 days of its prior January 31, 2023 sanction order for purposes of reviewing the merits of the Board’s request for relief set forth in this pleading, vacate its prior January 31, 2023 sanction order, and schedule the matter for oral argument on the subject of the merits of the relief requested in this pleading and to grant such other relief as may be deemed appropriate.”

The respondent, Judge Cabry filed an Answer on February 13, 2023, where he opposed on principle the request of the Judicial Board for a reconsideration of the sanctions that have been imposed on him by the court. In the said answer, the respondent admitted some and denied some parts particularly that there is a jurisdiction for reconsideration.

The filing further states:

“In the Rules of Procedure of the Court of Judicial Discipline. In fact under Rule 505, in the Rules of Procedure of the Court of Judicial Discipline, the Court maintains jurisdiction to reconsider the sanction if the Court determines the Judicial Officers violated the terms of the probation. There has to be a hearing to show that the Judicial officer had failed to comply with the conditions. Here, former Judge Cabry is not on probation and there is no violation. It would appear that the general Court Rule of 42 Pa. C.s.A. 5505, would not apply to the Court of Judicial Discipline.”

On February 22, 2023, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline issued an Opinion and Order on the motion for reconsideration. It stated that contrary to the arguments laid by the petitioner, the court believes that it has met its institutional obligation, repaired the public trust, and has done justice when it imposed its sanction against the respondent.

The Memorandum and Opinion state:

“Former Magisterial District Judge Cabry was clearly broken when he appeared before the Court. His wife has died, his house was burnt, and his financial future is bleak. The Court, weighing all the circumstances was willing to accept Former Magisterial District Judge Cabry’s pledge to not seek further judicial office under the circumstances. Additionally, though, if Former Magisterial District Judge Cabry were to seek further judicial office it would make his sworn promise not to do s0 a falsehood and subject him to the criminal penalties that came from issuing such a falsehood in sworn testimony.”

Based on these reasons. the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline dismissed the JCB’s motion for reconsideration.

Judge Cabry’s info can be found at ballotpedia.org.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.