Judge cleared of misconduct over condom-filled acorns

PITTSBURGH Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:40pm EDT

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PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania judge has been cleared of violating judicial conduct standards after he gave two women hollowed-out acorns containing unwrapped condoms, an official said on Friday.

Magisterial District Judge Isaac Stoltzfus was attending a continuing education program in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in September when he handed the acorns to the women who worked for the state health and welfare department, court documents said.

"They make a nice afternoon snack, try them," he told them, according to the documents. "I'll be here tomorrow, let me know what you think."

The women discovered the acorns had been hollowed out and unwrapped condoms placed inside. They contacted police, explaining that Stoltzfus had been wearing a name badge that identified him as a judge.

Stoltzfus told police he gave the women the acorns as a joke and did not intend to offend anyone, the complaint said.

In a ruling issued on Wednesday, a panel of judges dismissed the case, saying Stoltzfus' actions did not constitute a violation, said Chief Counsel Joseph Massa of the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania.

"We must say that (Stoltzfus') purpose here and his preoccupation with acorns is mystifying to the court," the judges wrote.

"It is not funny and we strongly disapprove of this conduct. Although it does not rise to a violation, it certainly lacks good judgment and must not be repeated."

(Reporting by Daniel Lovering, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Cynthia Johnston)

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