Thomas H. Kelley VI
Thomas H. Kelley VI

Click here for the letter from the state attorney general's office about Judge Kelley.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office has determined no charges should be filed against York County Common Pleas Judge Thomas H. Kelley VI for an alleged 2011 domestic dispute between him and a former public defender.

The office sent a letter dated Jan. 25 to York County District Attorney Tom Kearney, who'd previously asked the state agency to investigate whether criminal charges were warranted against the judge.

The letter, signed by executive deputy attorney general Lawrence Cherba, states the office has closed its investigation into Kelley. It states, in part:

"Based upon a review of the available admissible evidence, the applicable law, the probability of a successful trial and the prosecution standards of the office, it is our office's opinion that the matter should not be the subject of a criminal prosecution."

Both the attorney general's office and Kearney have declined comment about the investigation.

Allegations 'untrue': Attorney Chris Ferro, who represents the judge, said in an emailed statement he's pleased the investigation is closed and that the judge cooperated fully with investigators.

"I have always been of the opinion that this investigation should have never been initiated," Ferro wrote. "The allegations made against Judge Kelley were untrue from their inception and without merit.


"The letter from the AG to the District Attorney was long overdue, but a welcome end to this long saga."

Ferro confirmed Kelley is running this year to retain his judicial seat.

The background: Former assistant public defender Janan Tallo of Hellam Township was granted a temporary protection from abuse order against Kelley on Feb. 8, 2011.

She alleged Kelley broke her elbow during an argument at his York Township home. The petition stated the two are former intimate partners.

The petition alleged Kelley grabbed Tallo by her coat while she was seated, lifted her off the ground and slammed her to the floor, resulting in a broken elbow and bruises.

Reassigned: After the temporary PFA was granted, Kelley's duties were reassigned so he would not be handling criminal matters. He remains off criminal cases.

At the time of the incident, Ferro released a statement saying Kelley is "a childhood survivor of domestic violence, raised by a single mother who survived the same," and that he became a prosecutor to represent victims.

In March 2011, an agreement was reached between Kelley and Tallo in which both sides agreed a final PFA would be granted against him, but without Kelley admitting any wrongdoing.

Why no charges? In a statement released Friday morning Tallo's attorney, Suzanne Smith, says she and Tallo don't understand why the Attorney General's Office chose not to prosecute, and view the decision as unfortunate.

"We can only hope that it is not because of the accused's position," she wrote, adding she and Tallo "adamantly disagree" with the decision and believe there is sufficient evidence for charges.

"There is a witness saying it happened and medical proof of the broken elbow," Smith wrote. "Judge Thomas Kelley ... (should) be held accountable the same as anyone else."

Smith maintains Tallo "continues to be victimized," this time by the Attorney General's Office.

"Despite the fact that charges were not filed, Ms. Tallo has no regrets about coming forward and telling the truth and encourages others to do the same," Smith wrote.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at