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Judicial Conduct Board: Actions by president judge during April traffic stop doesn’t warrant formal charges

Formal charges will not be filed against Dennis Reinaker, president judge in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas, in the Court of Judicial Discipline fol...
reinaker

Formal charges will not be filed against Dennis Reinaker, president judge in the Lancaster County Court of Common Pleas, in the Court of Judicial Discipline following a complaint that he attempted to use his identity to receive special treatment from an officer during a traffic stop in April.

The traffic stop occurred on Pitney Road in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County on April 26, and dashcam footage of the incident was obtained by LNP/LancasterOnline.

The video shows President Judge Reinaker stepping out of his vehicle during the traffic stop and asking, “What do you think you’re doing pulling me over? For blowing my horn?”

The president judge was then asked to return to his vehicle, and as he was doing so, told the officer, “You better check the registration on this plate soon, mister.” Shortly thereafter, the officer approached the driver’s side window and said, “Have a good day, Judge.”

President Judge Reinaker acknowledged the traffic stop since then, but denied using his position to influence the traffic stop.

Instead of formal charges, the Judicial Conduct Board decided to issue a Letter of Counsel, which was sent to the president judge on December 13.

The Judicial Conduct Board found that President Judge Reinaker’s actions breached the Code of Judicial Conduct that could support the filing of formal charges, but it decided to resolve the matter through the Letter of Counsel in light of the following mitigating considerations:

  • on June 14, 2019, you self-reported your conduct to the Judicial Conduct Board
  • you cooperated fully in the investigation
  • the conduct in question was brief and singular in nature
  • you apologized to the police officer involved in the motor vehicle traffic stop
  • you accepted responsibility for your conduct

President Judge Reinaker consented to the Letter of Counsel in writing and stipulated that it may be used during future proceedings if future complaints are lodged against him. The dismissal of the complaint followed the president judge’s agreement that the Letter of Counsel be made public.