Report: Ex-Traffic Judge Will Plead to Accepting Bracelet

Thomasine Tynes, left. The bracelet she's alleged to have accepted from a undercover confidential informant for the attorney general's office.

Thomasine Tynes, left. The bracelet she’s alleged to have accepted from a undercover confidential informant for the attorney general’s office.

Thomasine Tynes, the former Traffic Court judge who became the first — and so far only — person charged with a crime stemming from Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s abandoned sting of Philadelphia politicians, will plead to charges in the case and is cooperating with prosecutors. She had been accused of accepting a $2,000 Tiffany bracelet from an undercover confidential informant working for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office.

The information appeared in a sentencing memo prepared by Tynes’ lawyer, Louis R. Busico, on an unrelated perjury conviction related to the ticket-fixing scandal that resulted in the Traffic Court’s demise. (The full memorandum is below.) Busico wrote:
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Abu-Jamal Sues to Overturn New Law

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Mumia Abu-Jamal, the convicted cop-killer who has spent the last three decades in prison, is suing to overturn a new law intended to keep him and other notorious prisoners from speaking out publicly.

The law, passed in the wake of Abu-Jamal’s October commencement speech to students at Goddard College in Vermont, lets crime victims — or prosecutors — sue inmates whose behavior behind bars continues to create anguish for the victims.
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Chief Justice to Attorney General: Release All Judges’ Emails

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Ron Castille wants Kathleen Kane to release all judges’ emails to the public — whether they’re pornographic or not.

Castille, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s chief justice, says releasing all of the justices’ emails — as well as those of judges in county and appeals courts — will quell fears that judges have gotten too close to prosecutors. “I think the attorney general should release all of them,” Castille told the Inquirer.

Earlier this week, the heads of several groups wrote an open letter saying non-pornographic emails sent by justices were troubling, too. The frat-boy nature of the emails released to reporters might have showed prosecutors and judges were getting too chummy. Lawyers and judges may have engaged in improper ex parte communications.

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The Racy Email Problem Could Become Just An Email Problem

The email scandal that claimed the careers of so many top state officials isn’t quite over, but its focus is changing.

The Legal Intelligencer reports that criminal defense attorneys, the ACLU, and other experts want to look at more than 4,000 emails that have passed between the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s Office in recent years. And no, they don’t just want to look at the dirty ones.
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Top 10 Pennsylvania Careers Destroyed or Damaged by the Jerry Sandusky Scandal

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Now that Seamus McCaffery has retired from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, it’s worth asking: How many significant Pennsylvanians have had their careers destroyed or derailed because of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State?

The line between Sandusky and McCaffery isn’t a straight one, of course, but: The “racy emails” that ultimately led to his suspension then retirement were discovered by Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office as it investigated whether her predecessor, Tom Corbett, had done a sufficient job of investigating the Sandusky case in the first place. No Sandusky, no Kane investigation, and maybe McCaffery is spending this week on the bench instead of vacating it.

Here are the Top 10 careers that have been destroyed or damaged, either directly or indirectly, by the Sandusky scandal, ranked by a combination of their relative importance to the entire state and the damage done to their careers. As you can see, the fallout has spread beyond Penn State and fairly widely across several branches of Pennsylvania state government.
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UPDATE: Judge Faces Charges for Accepting Bracelet

[Update 11:37 a.m.] District Attorney Seth Williams brought the $2,000 Tiffany bracelet with him to the press conference:

Photo | 6ABC

Image via 6ABC

Williams said the case against Tynes is “press and play” — prosecutors will just have to play the tapes of Tynes accepting the bracelet, recorded by investigators during the sting operation.

These are the only charges brought out of that investigation so far, but Williams said the investigation continues against Philly state representatives who were also caught on tape taking gifts from an undercover informant.

He added that any suggestions of racial profiling — offered by Attorney General Kathleen Kane as a reason for originally dropping the case — are a distraction.

Williams’ official statement on the case:

The grand jury’s findings:

The office also released three photos — one of Tynes, two of the bracelet:



[Original 10 a.m.] Thomasine Tynes, a retired Traffic Court judge, will face state corruption charges, Fox 29 reports.

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Pennsylvania Attorney General, Chief Justice Reach Porn Deal

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Pennsylvania’s porn email scandal drags on. On Wednesday, the office of Attorney General Kathleen Kane said she and Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille reached a deal over porn emails. She will turn over the names of judges or judicial employees who had exchanged sexually explicit emails on state accounts.

She won’t, however, give the messages to Castille. She’ll allow him to view the emails and pornographic content, but will only give him copies of the emails “without explicit content,” per the Inquirer. It’s unclear why Kane won’t share the porn with Castille. Does she think he’ll, in turn, start forwarding around these messages again?

To be fair, a judge is involved in this scandal: Judge Seamus McCaffery (of Eagles Court fame) reportedly sent at least 10 messages from a personal email account to the state account of someone in the Attorney General’s office. (“I just wonder why a half dozen private emails, allegedly from Justice McCaffery’s personal computer, are front page news,” a spokesman for the judge said in a statement.)

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The Harrisburg Porn Email Scandal, Translated by a Woman

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As a human with a computer, I expect people to mess around on the clock a bit. Amazon, Buzzfeed, Facebook, The Daily Puppy (just me? fair enough): I don’t care if my taxes are paying your salary – desk captives all deserve a little Internet candy.

Noticeably not on that list? Sending misogynistic, pornographic emails to your Harrisburg broworkers.

As an optimist with a naive streak and that pesky liberal tendency to enjoy learning, I’ll listen to arguments against equal pay — there are one or two I almost buy. And I like to think that there are at least some reasonable, benign explanations for the lack of women in leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies. The idea of a glass ceiling enforced by the men I’ve studied and worked with — many of whom have hired, promoted and supported me — isn’t, on most days, a satisfying answer.

And yet, the degrading emails sent and/or received by top state officials — including the former head of the Attorney General’s criminal law division, the State Police Commissioner and two members of Governor Corbett’s cabinet — makes me think otherwise.

These weren’t simply inappropriate for the workplace. “Inappropriate” is drinking too much at the Christmas party, pushing gift wrap for your kid’s fundraiser, microwaving salmon at 11:30 a.m. – annoying, sometimes worth a reprimand, but not threatening or humiliating.

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