Dashcam footage reveals Pennsylvania judge allegedly using position to influence officer

LNP


A judge in Pennsylvania is facing scrutiny after dashcam footage of him at a traffic stop was recently made public, revealing his alleged attempt to influence the police officer with his position.

Judge Dennis Reinaker of Lancaster County was pulled over in East Lampeter Township on April 26 for tailgating the officer, police Chief Stephen Zerbe told LNP.

In the video, Reinaker is seen getting out of his car as the officer approaches.

"What do you think you're doing pulling me over?" Reinaker asks. "For blowing my horn?"


The officer instructs an angry Reinaker to return to his vehicle, which is when the judge makes the questionable comment.

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"You better check the registration on this plate soon, Mister," he says, pointing to his license plate before getting back into the black SUV.

The officer goes back to his own vehicle for a moment where he's likely running the vehicle's plates. He then walks back to Reinaker's car and says, "Have a good day, Judge."

Reinaker told WGAL he self-reported the incident to the State Judicial Conduct Board shortly after it happened. He also told the news outlet he regretted his behavior and shouldn't have gotten out of his car.

"I know better than that. I wish I hadn't," he said.

He also said he never intended to use his influence to get out of the traffic stop.

"I neither expect nor deserve any special treatment, and made no such request on this occasion...If my intent was to tell him who I was, I could certainly have done so," Reinaker told LNP.

"However, I am not immune to an instance of mild frustration during a morning commute. In this case, it was not clear to me why I was pulled over. I obeyed the officer's directives and intended no disrespect," he added.

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It is against the Judicial Code of Conduct for a judge to use his office for personal benefit.

"A judge shall not abuse the prestige of judicial office to advance the personal or economic interests of the judge or others, or allow others to do so," Rule 1.3., "Avoiding Abuse of the Prestige of Judicial Office," states, according to LNP.

"It is improper for a judge to use or attempt to use his or her position to gain personal advantage or preferential treatment of any kind. For example, it would be improper for a judge to allude to his or her judicial status to gain favorable treatment in encounters with traffic officials," an additional comment under the Rule explains.

This incident isn't the first time a judge has been accused of using his position to evade the law. Last September, a municipal court judge in New Jersey was censured by the state's Supreme Court for attempting to influence an officer who pulled him over for suspected drunk driving, the Associated Press reports.

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In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

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Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

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He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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