State board files complaint against former Traffic Court judge

Just days after Willie Singletary resigned from his post as a Traffic Court judge, the state Judicial Conduct Board on Thursday filed a complaint against him alleging conduct unbecoming of a judge.

The board accuses him of showing a female cashier two photos of his genitals in an aroused state and posing the question: "Like that?"

The state Supreme Court in January suspended Singletary without pay as a result of the allegations.

On Monday, Singletary, 30, sent an e-mail officially resigning his post, said his attorney, John S. Summers. That move did not short-circuit the investigation by the conduct board.

"We want an opinion which notes that this type of behavior is violative of the rules and canons and code of ethics," said Joseph A. Massa Jr., the board's chief counsel.

Singletary has not commented publicly on the incident. In his resignation e-mail, he denied the claim and said he had been "prejudged."

"I will be unable to have [the complaint] heard by a neutral and unbiased tribunal, depriving me of the most basic due process guarantees. I therefore, hereby, submit my resignation," he wrote, according to an account of the e-mail provided to The Inquirer.

Singletary, elected in 2007, has 30 days to respond to the complaint from the conduct board. Because Singletary quit, the maximum penalty would be to prohibit him from holding judicial office in the future.

According to the nine-page document, Singletary had been hearing night-court cases on Dec. 19 when he approached a cashier while she was waiting on the public. At 5:53 p.m. he showed her a series of disparate digital photos on his cellphone - of his two daughters, himself in front of a church, his BMW, a woman in "black booty shorts" and then "two picture of his erect penis."

The next day, the cashier recounted the incident to a court city police officer, who reported it to her supervisors. Court of Common Pleas Judge Gary S. Glazer "confirmed the incident" and on Dec. 22 relieved Singletary of his duties and told him not to enter the courthouse.

During the 2007 campaign, Singletary was captured on video suggesting that contributors would get favorable treatment in his court, leading to a reprimand from the Court of Judicial Discipline.

In 2006, before running for office, Singletary established City of Refuge, a West Philadelphia church, where he serves as pastor.

Before being elected, he amassed dozens of traffic violations - totaling $11,500 - which led to the suspension of his driver's license until 2011. The license was reinstated, and he paid off his fines.


Contact Nathan Gorenstein at 215-854-2797 or ngorenstein@phillynews.com.