Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Willis W. Berry Jr. has retired, leaving the bench on the same day he was ordered to pay $180,000 in punitive damages for a civil fraud case.
Pamela Pryor Dembe, president judge of the Common Pleas Court, said Berry had reached the mandatory retirement age of 70. He could have served through the end of the year, but decided to leave a few months early, on Aug. 31.
"He likes to do outdoorsy things," she said.
Dembe said Berry did not apply to be retained as a senior judge.
The large jury award was related to a real estate transaction in which Berry arranged for one of his legal clients to take ownership of a property on the 1500 block of Girard Avenue and then sell it to Berry for $1,500.