Ethics Complaint Accuses Philly Judge of Misrepresentations on Candidate Questionnaires

An ethics complaint accuses a Philadelphia judge of leaving negative information off of candidate questionnaires submitted to a committee of the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Judge Thomas Nocella is accused of misrepresentations and omissions on the 2009 and 2011 questionnaires, even though he had certified his answers as complete and correct. The Philadelphia Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer have stories.

According to the complaint (PDF) by the Judicial Conduct Board, Nocella failed to disclose: two Internal Revenue Service liens against him for more than $469,000, a personal bankruptcy filing, a contempt finding for disobeying court orders stemming from his representation of a political action committee, and 24 cases in which he was a defendant or a respondent.

Nocella received recommended ratings from the bar group as a result of his answers to the questions.

Nocella is represented by lawyer Samuel Stretton, who told the Inquirer he hoped his client could continue to serve as a judge. “This has nothing to do with anything he did on the bench,” Stretton said of his client. “I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews for his performance as a judge. Everybody thinks he’s extremely professional.”

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