Bring Down the Gavel on Judicial Misconduct
When Michael Nutter was elected mayor he declared "New Day, New Way" for Philadelphia. He should have sent a memo to his fellow politicians because they are still operating on the "Old Day, Old Way" politics by ignoring ethics and the law. In this new instance it revolves around judicial misconduct of Common Pleas Court Judge Dan Anders and Municipal Court Judge Pat Dugan and other contributing politicians.
According to Pennsylvania's Code of Judicial conduct "judges should not solicit funds for or pay an assessment or make a contribution to a political organization or candidate". A mere five days after Daniel Anders was sworn in as Common Pleas Court Judge, he made his first of four political donations while sitting as judge. This list of recipients are the Democrat City Committee (twice), Kevin Lee and PA Representative Babette Josephs (D-182). Now, the donors can typically be excused because they may not have known he was a judge when he donated, except in the case of Babette Josephs. Her campaign report actually has him listed as a Judge for the Court of Common Pleas. Her campaign has knowingly accepted money from a sitting judge.
The infractions do not end there. In the City Paper article "Fighting Freshman" by Mary Patel, she covered "[Congressman D-8] Patrick Murphy, whose district is in Bucks County, made the scene along with Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin [Wisconsin D-2] last Thursday night at a fundraiser hosted by Philadelphia Gay News Publisher Mark Segal at his home. Guests included Jeff Goldman, Stephen Glassman, Dan Anders and Rick Lombardo..."
From just this handful of public information it seems obvious that Judge Dan Anders is engaging in unethical political activity with multitudes of candidates, elected officials and politically connected individuals.
There are other prohibited activities. "Judges should not attend political gatherings." Last month Municipal Court Judge Pat Dugan was at such an event.
In the Northeast Times article "Dems Gather to bolster stock in the Northeast" by Tom Waring, he reported on a political rally taking place at their [Democrat] headquarters on Frankford Ave. He says "Payton was joined by fellow Reps. Mike McGeehan, John Sabatina Jr. and Mark Cohen, state Sen. Mike Stack, City Councilwoman Joan Krajewski and state House of Representatives candidates Brendan Boyle, Rich Costello and Harry Enggasser. Also on hand was Municipal Court Judge Pat Dugan ..."
"Judges should not engage in any political activity except on behalf of measures to improve the law, the legal system, or the administration of justice." I doubt Anders was campaigning for legal reform at Mark Segal's house and I am reluctant to believe an anti-McCain rally was where Pat Dugan was politicking for tort limits.
Regardless if you are for merit selection of judges in Pennsylvania or for public voting, you will agree the ethics laws restricting judges from participating in other people's political campaigns is very important. Having impartial judges not connected to people in political power is core to the integrity of our judicial system.
Above are two situations where two Democrat judges are unethically participating in political activity along with other Democratic candidates. If we, the citizens of Philadelphia, see such activity taking place, it is our duty to raise the alarm and report it to the authorities such as the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board.
Article appeared in The Loyal Opposition