Stephen Silverman, 52, a district judge in Lower Moreland, Pa., faces eight counts of judicial misbehavior before the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. A complaint accuses him of disregarding procedure, undermining the judicial process, and endangering a police investigation.
The newspaper says the large and kindly lawyer, a former schoolteacher, has another side that some characterize as arrogant and overbearing.
In three years on the bench, Silverman has made enemies whilke pursuing change. The Inquirer says that with juvenile offenders, he takes the role of an ornery high school principal. He has conflicted with Lower Moreland’s police leaders, enraged county commissioners, and turned off some parents who reject his tough-guy approach.
Silverman says the case against him is an attempt by “some of my critics to use the judicial process to silence me.”
In juvenile cases, Silverman has imposed a dress code. When the parent of one student said the boy could not afford a tie, Silverman found the boy guilty of the harassment charge that brought him to court. In another case, he dismissed a traffic citation because a police officer failed to include the defendant’s phone number. Such information is not mandated by law, but the judge required it to make contacting defendants easier.