Tags: Coronavirus | philadelphia | judge | mask | courtroom

Philly Judge Won't Wear Mask, Prompting Complaints

surgeon general jerome adams displays a face mask in a coronavirus task force daily press briefing
Surgeon General Jerome Adams (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 11 August 2020 08:46 PM

A longtime Philadelphia judge has refused to wear a mask in court despite pleas from prosecutors, defendants, and witnesses who say they are concerned about their health, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge James Murray Lynn, 72, has also occasionally ordered others to remove their masks in the courtroom, according to a written complaint.

"It has come to the attention of our offices that Judge Lynn continues to refuse to wear a mask while operating in-person hearings," Alan J. Tauber, first assistant at the Defender Association of Philadelphia, wrote in a letter dated Friday, to Margaret Murphy, administrative judge for the Family Division. "We believe this safety breach needs to be addressed expeditiously."

"Not only was he not wearing a mask, but he was actively ordering counsel to remove their masks while litigating," Tauber continued.

Lynn was first elected in 1991 and was re-elected in 2001 and 2011 even though the Philadelphia Bar Association gave him a rating of "not recommended" on both re-election bids, the Inquirer reported. He was given an award in 2019 by the Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy for his "tireless work in Family Court on behalf of crime victims."

Tauber's letter notes the State Department of Health recommends masks in all public places and the First Judicial District court also requires them.

The judge did not respond to the newspaper's requests for comment, but his spokesperson, Martin O'Rourke, noted Lynn's courtroom is one of many that have had plexiglass installed, saying the judge's "presiding chair in his courtroom is positioned three feet behind a recently installed multisided plexiglass separation."

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A longtime Philadelphia judge has refused to wear a mask in court despite pleas from prosecutors, defendants, and witnesses who say they are concerned about their health.
philadelphia, judge, mask, courtroom
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2020-46-11
Tuesday, 11 August 2020 08:46 PM
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