The Court of Judicial Discipline of Pennsylvania issued an order on November 14, 2023, suspending Dauphin County Magisterial District Judge Sonya McKnight without pay pending the outcome of ongoing disciplinary proceedings against her.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Sonya M. McKnight,” with case numbers 1 JD 21 and 1 JD 23.
The Judicial Conduct Board had filed a complaint against Judge McKnight on September 6, 2023, alleging several violations. First, they claimed she had granted unearned vacation days to her staff, which constituted embezzlement. She also failed to fully cooperate with the investigation and gave inconsistent answers about the vacation leave. Additionally, McKnight was accused of obstructing a civil complaint and improperly using her position to solicit sales of a product on social media.
The complaint further stated that McKnight did not recuse herself from cases involving attorney Brian Perry as directed. She also allegedly provided dishonest answers during the Board’s investigation.
In response to these accusations, the court had previously ordered both parties to submit arguments on issues like whether McKnight should be suspended with or without pay. The Judicial Conduct Board submitted arguments in response to the court’s request. The Board ultimately urged the court to suspend McKnight without pay pending resolution of the disciplinary case. However, McKnight herself did not respond to the court’s instruction to provide her own arguments on suspension.
Given the lack of response from McKnight and the Board’s position, the Court of Judicial Discipline issued an order suspending Judge McKnight without pay.
Judge McKnight’s courtroom is located at 1805 North Cameron Street Harrisburg PA 17103 and can be reached at 717-233-3599. Her info can be found on ballotpedia.org.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.