A Philadelphia judge will be suspended for six months after a state judicial panel ruled that her “repeated, clearly improper conduct” in Family Court was “blatant and inexcusable.”
The ruling issued late Wednesday by the Court of Judicial Discipline also mandates that Common Pleas Court Judge Lyris Younge serve a probationary term for the rest of her tenure, which extends to 2026. She also will be barred from serving in Family Court and must write apology letters to the people the panel said she wronged.
Younge was cited for illegally jailing parents, having parents handcuffed in her courtroom and insulting and belittling people who appeared before her. The court said the discipline was the harshest it had ever imposed without ordering a judge dismissed.
Two judges on the panel signed onto a dissenting opinion saying Younge’s penalty wasn’t stern enough. They said she should have been permanently removed for causing “one disaster after another” during her time on the bench. In one incident, she had a grandmother jailed because her adult daughter wouldn’t turn her baby over to the Department of Human Services — even though neither the daughter nor the infant was party to the matter before Younge.
The judge’s attorney, Charles Gibbs, said in a statement that she had “dedicated her life to public service and helping others, and the Court’s decision will enable her to continue to pursue her passion in the justice system.”
A Democrat, Younge was elected to the bench in 2015 after serving as a deputy city solicitor and executive in the city’s Department of Human Services. She served several years as a Family Court judge but was reassigned to handle civil proceedings after the complaints against her were raised in 2018. She is currently assigned to the nonjury arbitration appeals program in civil court.