On Wednesday, September 19, 2023, the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania responded to Judge Sonya M. McKnight’s request for a continuance in a matter pending before the Court of Judicial Discipline. The response from the Board outlined several objections to Judge McKnight’s request, adding further complexity to the ongoing case.
The case is entitled “In the Matter of Sonya M. McKnight,” with case no. 2 JD 2023; and 1 JD 2021.
On September 6, 2023, the Judicial Conduct Board of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania filed a complaint against Magisterial District Judge Sonya M. McKnight, citing multiple allegations of misconduct. The complaint accused Judge McKnight of violating various Rules Governing the Standards of Conduct of Magisterial District Judges and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The allegations against Judge McKnight included “theft of time,” where she purportedly granted unearned vacation days to her staff, which the Board considered a form of embezzlement of time. Additionally, Judge McKnight was accused of failing to cooperate fully with disciplinary authorities and providing inconsistent responses when questioned about the extra vacation leave.
Furthermore, the complaint stated that Judge McKnight prevented a civil complaint from being processed, potentially obstructing the administration of justice. She was also accused of soliciting sales of a product on her social media page, identified as ‘X-it Red,’ which had been characterized as an improper use of her judicial position. The complaint also noted that Judge McKnight failed to give precedence to the duties of her judicial office on specific dates without providing an explanation.
In the latest development of the case, Judge McKnight has requested a continuance in the said matter pending before the Court of Judicial Discipline. The Judicial Conduct Board, represented by counsel Elizabeth R. Donnelly, responded to the request with several objections and requests of its own.
Firstly, the Board objects to an indefinite continuance of the matter and requests an in-person hearing on Judge McKnight’s continuance request. The Board also requests that the Court of Judicial Discipline appoint Judge McKnight’s counsel pursuant to Rule 601(A) and enter an order requiring her to undergo a physical/mental evaluation pursuant to Rule 601(B).
In addition, the Board has filed a verification stating that it found probable cause to file the response to the request for a continuance, and a certificate of compliance confirming that the filing complies with the case records public access policy of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.
The matter is currently pending before the Court of Judicial Discipline, and the Board’s response to the request for continuance has been sent to Judge McKnight by first-class mail. The Board’s Deputy Counsel, Elizabeth R. Donnelly, has signed the proof of service confirming that the document was sent to Judge McKnight’s address on September 19, 2023.
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.