"There is no question that Arnold was acting to affect the outcome of this case — her case — which was being investigated by her president judge and by the judicial conduct board," the court said in its opinion. "It is clear then that [Arnold] is subject to discipline."
Arnold has 10 days to file objections from the day of the order, which was Wednesday. If she does not, the court will hold hearings on possible sanctions, which range from a reprimand to permanent removal from the bench. Arnold was suspended from the bench in February after the filing of formal charges by the Judicial Conduct Board, the state agency that investigates allegations of judicial misconduct.
Arnold's attorney did not respond to a call for comment.
The case began Jan. 19, 2010, after the state police cited Arnold's son, Forrest C. Solomon Jr., for harassment in an altercation with his half-brother, Jonathan Arnold. The incident took place at the Downingtown home where all three lived. Solomon, according to the judicial discipline court, "has an extensive record of arrests for crimes ranging from simple assault and harassment to possession with intent to deliver."
After the summons arrived in her court, Judge Arnold, according to the court, called the state police and questioned why it had been issued. Later, she approached an office assistant, handed her the summons, and asked her to "hold onto it." The matter was not officially entered into the court record until April 5, more than two months after the altercation. The case then was transferred to another judge and eventually dismissed on June 2, after Jonathan Arnold failed to appear for a hearing on the summons.
In a written explanation of the incident to Chester County Court President Judge James E. MacElree, Arnold said the summons was not docketed quickly because she at one point had forgotten about it. But the judicial discipline court found that when Arnold learned investigators had subpoenaed her assistant, she urged the assistant to give false testimony regarding when the assistant became aware of the summons against Arnold's son.
Contact staff writer Chris Mondics at 215 854 5957 or email@example.com.