Nocella will get a chance to contest the claims, and his counsel, Samuel C. Stretton, predicts that the case will be resolved short of the judge's removal.
Yet the controversy surrounding the judge - as with too many others tripped up by misconduct claims - offers further evidence of deep flaws in the state's system of picking all of its judges through contested elections.
Indeed, the Nocella allegations seemingly expose problems in the way judicial candidates in Philadelphia, in particular, are vetted by Democratic Party leaders, the legal community, and voters themselves.
Central to the charges is the claim that Nocella misled the Philadelphia Bar Association panel that issues ratings of "recommended" or "not recommended" for candidates.
Following Nocella's late entry as a party nominee last fall, the bar found him qualified. While the Judicial Conduct Board lays the blame on the candidate, it's good that bar association officials plan to redouble efforts to scrutinize candidates as they perform this time-consuming but critically important public service.
Similarly, Democratic officials over the years have attached too much value to party loyalty when assembling judicial slates. They, too, need to screen candidates' resumés more closely.
For their part, voters may be in the weakest position to distinguish among judicial candidates. Time and again, candidates with the best ballot position win - regardless of whether they match up well on qualifications or their suitability to serve on the bench.
Certainly, more sure-footed vetting of judicial candidates would help. But switching to merit-based selection of more judges - as Gov. Corbett and court reform groups favor for state appellate courts - could mean fewer whoops moments for the Pennsylvania courts.