HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – A Philadelphia judge has been suspended for three months without pay because he issued a phony protective order as a favor to a Romanian diplomat worried about someone who was talking to his teenage daughter.

The Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline on Monday also placed Common Pleas Judge James DeLeon on probation under the supervision of the state Judicial Conduct Board until his term expires in 2012.

DeLeon’s troubles stemmed from a 2005 event in Philadelphia where he met George P. Sfedu, Romania’s honorary consul general to the city.

Sfedu told DeLeon that Lee Corley, the owner of a French-language summer camp near Sfedu’s home, was having unwanted verbal contact with his teenage daughter.

DeLeon offered to help and issued an order directing Corley to stay away and warning him that a violation would result in his arrest. Corley hired a lawyer to challenge the propriety of the order.

and DeLeon vacated it five months later.

DeLeon apologized to the court and said issuing the order “was an extremely stupid thing for me to do.”

The court dropped the most serious count against DeLeon – a constitutional provision barring conduct that brings a judicial office into disrepute. Such a violation could have meant his removal from the bench and the loss of his state pension.

The court ordered DeLeon to pay compensation to Corley, who said he was disappointed that DeLeon will stay on the bench but otherwise supported the panel’s decision.

“They sent a very clear message to all judges that this type of behavior won’t be tolerated,” he said.

Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, http://www.philly.com

AP-ES-01-06-09 1434EST


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