Berks district judge gets jail time, probation in theft case

READING, Pa. - A judge who spent nearly two decades on the bench in Berks County will now spend up to nearly two years behind bars.

Magisterial District Judge Timothy Dougherty was sentenced Monday to six to 23 months in jail followed by five years of probation.

"I think what the judge did today is he split the difference between what the government was asking for and what we were asking for, actually split the difference right down the middle," said Dougherty's attorney, Allan Sodomsky.

Dougherty had faced a sentence of up to nine years in prison after pleading guilty in September to charges of theft by unlawful taking, a third-degree felony, and misapplication of trusted property.

"He [the judge] made him eligible for a reentry program, which means he gets good time credits, so all things being said, he'll probably do about 140-150 days in Berks County Prison. Then, he'll be released for the remainder of the two years," Sodomsky said.

Dougherty was arrested in May 2016 for allegedly stealing more than $15,000 from his court office in West Reading and nearly $98,000 from the Wyomissing Fire Department, where he served as treasurer.

Dougherty, a former Cumru Township police officer who served as district judge since 1998, was suspended without pay by the state Court of Judicial Discipline.

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