The state Supreme Court has suspended Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Thomas Nocella, who is accused of misrepresenting his qualifications to win a city bar association recommendation for last year's election.
Nocella was given the suspension order Friday and was instructed that he was "relieved of any and all judicial and administrative responsibility."
It does not affect his judicial salary of $165,000 or benefits, his lawyer said Monday.
Attorney Samuel Stretton said the high court gave Nocella no chance to present a defense before the order was issued.
"They could have at least issued a rule to show cause," Stretton said. "I'm not happy with this."
Nocella is assigned to Family Court, handling dependency and juvenile cases. The Supreme Court order went to his boss, Judge Kevin Dougherty, who notified Nocella, Stretton said.
He said Nocella left the job and is expected to face a triallike hearing in January or February before the state Court of Judicial Discipline. The Judicial Conduct Board first made the charges public in October.
The Judicial Conduct Board, which is under the Supreme Court, acts much like a prosecutor in filing charges.
Its charging documents stated that Nocella misrepresented his legal qualifications in 2009 and 2011 by failing to tell the Philadelphia Bar Association about numerous lawsuits and other legal problems he faced.
The association was interviewing him at the time to determine whether to give him its coveted election recommendation.
The Inquirer reported after last year's election that Nocella had more than $1 million in debts and also was embroiled in a lawsuit accusing him of fraud in the sale of a $507,500 property of a VFW post in Manayunk.
In a sworn deposition, Nocella said he received $60,000 as a consequence of signing a document stating he was the secretary of Straughter-Carter Post 6627 - though he was not a VFW member or the post's secretary.
The Judicial Conduct Board said he also failed to disclose that information to the bar association.
Former Gov. Ed Rendell appointed Nocella to Municipal Court in 2008. He lost the 2009 primary and finished his term in 2010.
Although he did not run in the 2011 primary for Common Pleas Court, he was nominated by Democratic ward leaders in the fall to fill a vacancy and won the general election.