Reinstatement of Judge’s Pension Following Guilty Plea
Secured reversal at the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania of the forfeiture of a judge’s state pension by the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS). After the judge pleaded guilty to two charges of violating 18 U.S.C. Section 1001 by lying to federal investigators, SERS informed him that by doing so he forfeited his pension under the Public Employee Pension Forfeiture Act (Act 140) and that the violation of the federal statute was “substantially the same” as violating 18 Pa.C.S. Section 4906. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the statutes were not identical, overturning the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s ruling and precedent set in Merlino v. Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement.