Senior judge gets election-mailing case

Chester County's President Judge assigned a senior judge to hear a case involving allegations that a couple committed fraud in a campaign mailing that targeted a magisterial district judge.

Michael Noone, an attorney for the West Chester couple, had requested a change of venue for Donald Skomsky, 57, of West Chester,  and his wife, Valerie Palfy, 46. Noone said he believed that allegations that his clients disseminated negative material about Magisterial District Judge Rita Arnold would make it difficult for them to receive a fair hearing in front of any of her colleagues.

Noone said after a short hearing yesterday, President Judge James P. MacElree 2d assigned Senior Judge Charles B. Smith to the case. Noone said a hearing date has not been set.

Skomsky and Palfy are accused of sending hundreds of negative campaign letters to registered voters in both parties before the May primary. The mailings allegedly contained the return address of one of the parties. Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll said the charges against the couple, which include forgery and conspiracy, resulted because the couple created the false impression that the mailing was authorized by the parties. Skomsky ran against Arnold in the primary, but lost his bid to unseat her.