Rul­ing: No trans­fer for ex-judge Arnold

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Ch­escoCourtNews on Twit­ter

WEST CH­ESTER >> The Com­mon Pleas judge over­see­ing the case against for­mer Down­ing­town Mag­is­te­rial District Judge Rita Jo Arnold has de­nied her re­quest to serve her 16-month jail sen­tence in Ch­ester County Prison.

With­out com­ment, Se­nior Judge John Brax­ton of Philadel­phia re­jected the re­quest for a hear­ing on the mo­tion of Arnold to be trans­ferred from

her cur­rent in­car­cer­a­tion at a state prison to the county, where she could bet­ter re­ceive med­i­cal care.

The or­der was dated Sept. 8. It was filed Mon­day.

Arnold’s lat­est at­tor­ney, Sam Stret­ton of West Ch­ester, had made the re­quest ear­lier this month. At the time, he said he was hope­ful that Brax­ton would grant him a hear­ing, but said he re­al­ized the mat­ter was com­pletely at the judge’s dis­cre­tion. Brax­ton had ruled against Arnold’s var­i­ous mo­tions to re­duce or throw out her sen­tenc­ing on more than one oc­ca­sion.

Arnold’s on­col­o­gist, Dr. Ch­eryl John­son of the Hos­pi­tal of the Univer­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia, said in a let­ter at­tached to the mo­tion that Arnold, al­though

she com­pleted chemo­ther­apy treat­ment for her cancer in Jan­uary 2015, con­tin­ues to need in­ter­val fol­lowup checks ev­ery six months.

Her fam­ily physi­cian, Dr. Bruce Col­ley of Down­ing­town, has said that if she is re­moved from her cur­rent med­i­cal care, Arnold will de­velop com­pli­ca­tions that, “with time, will lead to se­ri­ous de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of her health and an un­timely death.” She suf­fers not only from breast cancer but also di­a­betes, lym­phedema, retinopa­thy, and neu­ropa­thy.

Arnold pleaded guilty in 2013 to charges of tam­per­ing with records and ob­struc­tion of jus­tice. The case stemmed from her ac­tions to cover up a sum­mary ci­ta­tion that had been is­sued by state po­lice from Em­breeville against her son, For­rest Solomon Jr., af­ter a fight that oc­curred at her home in West Brad­ford.

Brax­ton, in im­pos­ing a sen­tence of 16 to 32 months in state prison in the case, de­vi­ated strongly from state sen­tenc­ing guide­lines, which had called for a stan­dard sen­tence of be­tween pro­ba­tion and three months in jail for a per­son like Arnold with no prior crim­i­nal record. Brax­ton said at the time that he was send­ing her to state prison be­cause of the dis­honor she brought to the bench, since she com­mit­ted the crimes in her po­si­tion as a mag­is­te­rial court judge.

Rita Arnold

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