Controversial judge moves from criminal court to civil court

Posted: January 24, 2014

COMMON PLEAS Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, who has made headlines and stirred controversy with her rulings in criminal court, has been transferred to civil court.

Sarmina, who has been on the state bench since 1998, begins her new assignment Monday. She is on vacation and was not available for comment, her office said.

Sarmina, 61, requested the transfer, according to Common Pleas Administrative Judge John Herron.

She became one of the city's highest-profile judges when she presided over a number of headline-grabbing cases.

Just last week, Sarmina was slammed by the Fraternal Order of Police, the District Attorney's Office and the family of murdered Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Boyle, 21, after she ruled that Edward Bracey was mentally handicapped and therefore could not be executed for the 1991 murder.

Sarmina's most-watched case was the three-month Catholic clergy sex-abuse trial in 2012, which resulted in Monsignor William Lynn being convicted and sentenced to serve three to six years in state prison for child endangerment.

Last month, the state Superior Court overturned Lynn's conviction. Sarmina then ordered him released on bail and placed him under house arrest.

District Attorney Seth Williams vowed to appeal the reversal, to send Lynn back to serve out the prison sentence that Sarmina gave him.


On Twitter: @MensahDean

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