HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Philadelphia traffic court judge was removed from office by a judicial ethics panel for showing a female court clerk cellphone photos of his genitals.
The Court of Judicial Discipline issued the one-sentence order Thursday in the case of Willie Singletary, who had been deemed to have engaged in judicial misconduct.
Singletary’s lawyer, John Summers, called it “a one-time, accidental mistake” and said that Singletary resigned from the bench in February. He said Singletary is working, got married this year and is moving on with his life.
“The court looked at all available sanctions, looked at past cases, and it selected removal,” Summers said. “Surely it knew that he had already resigned.”
According to Summers, Singletary and the woman were showing each other content on their cellphones when, “for a matter of seconds,” she saw the photos in question. The board complaint said Singletary asked the woman, “Do you like it?”
A pastor who founded a West Philadelphia church, Singletary won office despite having a suspended driver’s license because of $11,000 in traffic-related fines, which he said he later paid.
He was previously reprimanded for a 2007 video posted online that showed him suggesting to campaign donors at a biker rally in the city’s Malcolm X Park that they would find a “hookup” in his court. Campaign rules prohibit judge candidates from such solicitations, and Singletary apologized.
“I was in preacher mode,” he said. “I do admit I chose a poor choice of words.”