January 2009 Ethics Dunces

Judge Willie Singletary

YouTube strikes again! This time, the on-line video collection has sparked an official reprimand and probation of a judge. Perhaps we should say, “alleged judge.”

While running to be elected as a Philadelphia traffic court judge, Willie Singletary attended a biker rally, and passed the hat while asking for campaign contributions. "Now, you all want me to get there [Traffic Court], you're all going to need my hook-up, right?" Singletary can be seen saying on the YouTube clip.

Translation: “Give me money and you’ll have bought yourself a judge!” Or, in other words, “Bribe me now, get your reward later!” Or perhaps more to the point, “Hi! Vote for me! I’m a clueless and unethical boob who has no more qualifications to be judge than my Cocker Spaniel!”

The Philadelphia Court of Judicial Discipline imposed its reprimand and suspension, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, after it viewed the video and concluded that Singletary had improperly suggested that those who donated would get favorable treatment once he was on the bench. Inexplicably, President Judge John Musmanno made a rousing effort to join Singletary as an Ethics Dunce by suggesting that Singletary deserved leniency—get this– because he did not have any legal training and was not yet on the bench when he made the remarks!

To which the Scoreboard replies, in shock, “WHAT??!” You shouldn’t need “legal training” to know that requesting a quid pro quo contribution for any elected office is called “soliciting a bribe” and is as crooked as the day is long. Why would the panel’s chief judge assume that Singletary’s ethical instincts are any better now that he’s actually in a robe? Why, to be blunt, is a bribe-soliciting individual with no legal training permitted to judge anything more important than a wet T-shirt contest at a biker rally?

Philadelphians can wrestle with that one. Meanwhile, they can ponder the fact that at least one Ethics Dunce, and quite probably two, are handing out their warped brand of justice in the City of Brotherly Love.

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