Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Judicial coiffure

Municipal Court judge uses campaign funds for a $30 haircut

Judicial coiffure

Municipal Court Judge James M. DeLeon.
Municipal Court Judge James M. DeLeon.
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Municipal Court Judge James M. DeLeon is seeking retention in next week’s election for another six-year term on the bench.  It’s a simple yes-or-no vote for voters, made more complicated by the Philadelphia Bar Association, which is recommending a no vote against DeLeon’s retention.  Under its rules for judicial evaluations, the bar won’t explain its recommendation.  

Under the circumstances, you can’t blame the judge for wanting to look his best as he tries to extend his 24-year career on the bench.  So that explains the $30 charge he put on his campaign finance report, using campaign money raised from lawyers and other sources to pay for a “candidate haircut” at the Erie Avenue Hair Cuttery. 

The report also listed payments of $3,000 to Democratic City Committee and $1,000 to Republican City Committee, along with smaller amounts to various consultants, including $400 in fees to campaign treasurer Marilyn Rigmaiden-DeLeon. Calls to the judge and his treasurer were not returned.

The state Court of Judicial Discipline suspended DeLeon without pay for three months in 2009, for improperly issuing an order, without a formal legal proceeding,  on behalf of someone he met at a social function.  The order barred a neighbor from having verbal or physical contact with the friend's teenage daughter.

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The Philadelphia Inquirer's Chris Hepp, Tricia Nadolny, Julia Terruso, and Claudia Vargas take you inside Philadelphia's City Hall.

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