Board issues letter to judge over his traffic stop behavior

December 30, 2019 GMT

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A written reprimand from the entity that investigates claims of judicial misconduct in Pennsylvania was made public Monday, describing a county judge’s behavior, captured on video, challenging a patrolman who stopped his SUV.

The Judicial Conduct Board’s “ letter of counsel ” to Lancaster County Common Pleas Judge Dennis Reinaker said complaints against him were dismissed but the board believes he violated a requirement that judges act at all times in a way that promotes public confidence in the judiciary.

A message was left seeking comment from Reinaker’s lawyer, Chris Ferro.

The dashcam video showed Reinaker telling the officer to “check the registration on this plate soon, mister,” after which the officer let him drive away without a ticket.

The five-page letter from the board said Reinaker explained he was irritated about being stopped and believed he had done nothing wrong.

The board said his conduct could support filing formal charges with the Court of Judicial Discipline, but instead he was issued the letter of counsel because he reported himself, cooperated, apologized to the officer and accepted responsibility.

The judge’s behavior was “brief and singular in nature,” the board said.

The video showed Reinaker getting out of his car and demanding of the officer, “What do you think you’re doing pulling me over? For blowing my horn?”