Chester County magisterial district judge arrested, resigns post

By Jon Campisi | Apr 25, 2013

The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office has arrested a magisterial district judge from

Chester County on allegations that she concealed a citation in order to protect her son from a possible probation violation.

The office of Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced on April 23 the arrest of Rita Arnold, 56, a magisterial district judge from Downingtown on charges that Arnold returned the citation to the state trooper who had issued it to her son following an altercation between two of the judge’s sons at the family home back on Jan. 19, 2010.

According to prosecutors, one of Arnold’s sons was issued a summary offense citation following the domestic situation, which was filed the following day by a state trooper in Arnold’s district court.

Arnold allegedly didn’t docket the citation and failed to follow proper procedures to transfer the matter to another district court because of the conflict of interest.

Agents with the Attorney General’s Office say that Arnold hid the citation for two-and-a-half months in an effort to protect her son from additional sanctions with the Chester County Probation Department.

Following her son’s stint in rehab, Arnold, without the knowledge or approval of the president judge of the Chester County Court of Common Pleas, docketed the citation using her computer username and password, according to the criminal complaint against Arnold.

The judge is being charged with one count of tampering with records or identification and one count of obstructing the administration of law or other governmental function.

Following her arrest, Arnold resigned her post, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline had suspended Arnold without pay for one month back in late July of last year, according to the CJD’s records.

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