A magisterial district judge from Chester County has been suspended from her post
without pay for a period of one month.
The one-page per curiam order, issued July 24 by the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline, says that Rita A. Arnold will begin her suspension on Aug. 1.
Her medical benefits will not be affected.
The suspension will be followed by a two-year probationary period, which will end on Aug. 31, 2014.
Arnold runs a district court in Downingtown.
According to news reports, Arnold’s punishment came amid a scandal involving her two sons; the jurist is said to have given her children preferential treatment and then lying about it.
The case had started with a fight between the two sons back in early 2010.
Arnold was suspended with pay back in February after sanctions were filed by the state’s Judicial Conduct Board, according to an article in the Daily Local News of West Chester.
According to the newspaper, Arnold’s son, Forrest C. Solomon, Jr., was cited by state police for harassment after he got involved in an altercation with the judge’s other son, Jonathan Arnold, who works as a police officer.
Rita Arnold’s office manager later told the Judicial Conduct Board that her boss had told her to hold onto the citation, which originally had been filed in Arnold’s court, and not docket it, the paper reported.
The article goes on to state that after Judge Arnold learned her staffer, Patricia Davis, would be deposed by the JCB, the judge asked Davis to lie about the matter.
The Court of Judicial Discipline ruled last month that Arnold had violated judicial rules by disregarding policy, failing to properly docket a citation and asking her staff to lie about the situation, according to the Daily Local News.
The court’s one-month suspension order was harsher than the punishment sought by the Judicial Conduct Board, the paper reported.
The JCB had asked the CJD to issue a severe public reprimand and place her on a two-year probation.