Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Judge Charged With Forgery In Nominating Petition

The web page of the Pennsylvania Disciplinary Board reports that an attorney was suspended on an interim basis as a result of a criminal conviction.

DailyTimes reports on the charges:

Magisterial District Judge David J. Murphy was arrested Monday on charges he had a hand in forging signatures on his nominating petition for re-election, according to Delaware County District Attorney G. Michael Green.

Murphy, 57, of Scott Road, Aston, along with Deborah West, 53, of the first block Vernon Lane, Rose Valley, were both charged Monday with criminal wrongdoing in connection with his successful re-election bid last year.

“Usually, the candidate is not involved at all and has no knowledge of (the forged signatures). But here, (Murphy) did have knowledge. He actually participated,” said Green during a press conference Monday announcing the arrests.

“These charges stem from each of the defendants participating in the forging of signatures on Mr. Murphy’s nominating petitions for the magisterial judgeship position he currently holds.”

A handwriting expert brought in by the D.A.’s office “determined positive matches on the handwriting samples of David Murphy and Deborah West compared to the petitions submitted,” according to officials.

Both West and Murphy are facing charges including multiple felony counts of forgery, identity theft and conspiracy. He is facing added charges of solicitation, as well as violations of the election law.

The charges allege that 64 signatures were forged on Murphy’s nominating petitions for his election last year. The forgeries even included misspelling a street where those residents lived, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Authorities said four of the people whose signatures were forged lived on “Cashel Drive” in Aston. “Their names and forged signatures appear with the street named ‘Cashell Drive.’”

Murphy — a Democrat turned Republican — was re-elected to his post Nov. 3, 2009. However, he hasn’t been handling the duties since Aug. 26, when the allegations of illegalities involving the nominating petitions first surfaced triggering a probe by the D.A.’s special prosecutions unit.

Note that the web page indicates a conviction and that the article indicates that a plea of not guilty was entered. (Mike Frisch)


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