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Downingtown Magistrate Resigns After Arrest on Charge of Legal Interference

(Photo provided by Pennsylvania attorney general's office.)

(Photo provided by Pennsylvania attorney general’s office.)

David Madden David Madden
David Madden is a Philadelphia native with virtually a lifetime of...
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By David Madden

DOWNINGTOWN, Pa. (CBS) —   A Chester County woman has resigned her post as a district justice in Downingtown after she found herself looking at the legal system from the wrong side of the bench.

Rita Arnold, 56, has been charged with getting in the way of a criminal case involving one of her sons.

Arnold resigned shortly after her arrest by agents from the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office.

According to the criminal complaint, an altercation occurred at Arnold’s Downingtown home on January 19, 2010, between her sons.   As a result of the altercation, one of her sons, 34-year-old Forrest Solomon, was issued a summary offense citation, which was filed the following day by a state trooper in Arnold’s court.

Solomon and his half brother lived with Arnold at the time.

Solomon was on probation, and prosecutors contend that Arnold went to great lengths to quash the complaint, fearing it would cause her son more problems.

Arnold allegedly did not docket the citation and failed to follow proper procedures to transfer the matter to another district court.  Investigators say that Arnold concealed the citation for 2½ months in an effort to protect her son from additional sanctions with the Chester County probation department.

Now she is charged with records tampering and obstruction of the administration of law.

The attorney general’s office announced the arrest in a press release, without further comment.  Arnold’s attorney could not be reached for comment.

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