Philadelphia Judge Deborah Griffin has many positive things on her resume: a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, the first black student to win the Missouri-Columbia Law School moot court, and overcoming great challenges in her childhood to become a lawyer. The one omission was that she has a felony record. She is now facing possible removal from the bench.
Griffin was first elected with Republican support in 2001 after an unsuccessful bid in 1999. She is now before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as the target of a removal action for failing to disclose her criminal record to the state bar.
Griffin pleaded guilty to a felony in 1984 in Atlanta when she used a fake social security number to obtain credit cards — an offense that gave her three years of probation. However, in 1988, she denied that she had ever been arrested or convicted of a crime — a basic requirement of all bars. Notably, such criminal record is not an absolute bar. The individual usually has to appear before a special committee.
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