District judge in Harrisburg accused of misconduct

The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board has filed formal charges that accuse a Dauphin County district judge of official misconduct.

Robert Jennings III, who is seated in the district court at 1805 N. Cameron Street in Harrisburg, is accused of violating the Pennsylvania Constitution and the rules of conduct for district judges.

According to the complaint, Jennings ordered constables to give money to his re-election campaign, failed to transfer parking tickets against him to other offices, and made sexually-suggestive comments to women staffers.

He allegedly demanded that constables provide 10 percent of their earnings from services to his court as a contribution to his 2009 re-election campaign if they wanted to receive further assignments from his office.

When an office manager told the judge she could not require the contributions, Jennings told her, “I wear the black robe. It’s what I say. If it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t be here,” the complaint states.

Jennings ordered his office manager to stop giving work to one constable who did not give to his campaign, and another constable who did not provide a significant contribution saw his work substantially decreased.

The complaint further states that Jennings had seven parking tickets filed against him in his court between 2009 and 2013, but transferred only one to another district court.

Other parking tickets and non-traffic citations filed in his office against staffers and others were not transferred until after Jennings was notified of an investigation in July 2014.

Some of the citations had been written three to eight years earlier.

The complaint adds that Jennings commonly made sexually suggestive statements around or directly to women employed in his court office.

He told one employee that he found her legs to be “sexy,” made sexually suggestive comments about his tongue, and referred to an employee as “his wife without sex.”

Jennings faces a possible trial before the Court of Judicial Discipline and sanctions that include reprimand, suspension or removal from office.

The board also filed a petition seeking an interim suspension.

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