Philadelphia judge removed from office

The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline has permanently removed a Philadelphia judge from office.

Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Nocella was accused of concealing important facts about his record when he was being rated by the Philadelphia Bar Association as a candidate for the bench.

Nocella didn’t reveal that he’d been found in contempt of court when he was a lawyer for a political action committee being investigated by the city Board of Ethics.

Nocella spent many years doing legal work for the Democratic city committee. He was appointed to the municipal court by then Gov. Ed Rendell in 2008, and elected to the common pleas bench in 2011 after he got a qualified rating from the bar association.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

The Court of Judicial Discipline found Nocella’s actions violated the state consitution and he’s barred from ever holding judicial office in Pennsylvania.

“We believe it to be beyond dispute that a judge — or one who would be a judge — who is willing to lie — and in official documents … is not one who can be expected to encourage, indeed to insist that truth be spoken in his courtroom,” the board said in its opinion.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal