With his sudden retirement yesterday, Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery shut down an ethics investigation with the potential to strip him of his lucrative state pension, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. In exchange for his ouster, his colleagues on the court agreed to drop their order that the state Judicial Conduct Board say within 30 days whether there was evidence to bring misconduct charges against him.
The deal came less than a week after federal prosecutors said they had ended a yearlong criminal investigation into referral fees that law firms paid to McCaffery’s wife while she served as his top judicial aide. Among the issues: McCaffery’s participation in the exchange of 234 e-mails containing pornographic materials. And last year, the Inquirer reported that plaintiff law firms had paid 19 referral fees to McCaffery’s wife, lawyer Lise Rapaport, over the previous decade while her husband voted on cases involving some of the firms.