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April 26, 2023

Philadelphia candidates for mayor in 2023: James DeLeon

The retired municipal court judge, who was previously charged with campaign misconduct, wants to increase the police force and implement rent control

2023 Election Mayoral Race
james deleon.jpeg @james.deleon.5245/Facebook

The Democratic candidate was a municipal court judge for 34 years, and a lawyer with the Philadelphia Housing Authority before that.

James DeLeon, a former municipal court judge who served 34 years on the bench, is coming out of retirement from politics to run for mayor.

The Democratic candidate, who often goes by Jimmy, was first elected to the municipal court judgeship in 1987. He mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2003, during which the state's judicial conduct board charged him with prohibited campaign conduct, and another for Pennsylvania Superior Court in 2007.

In his three decades on the bench, DeLeon presided over trials for a fatal hit-and-run, domestic homicides and the murder of 16-year-old Saleem West. He was also involved in probation hearings for the man known as the "Swiss Cheese Pervert."

The Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania suspended DeLeon for three months without pay in 2009 for misconduct, after he issued a "stay away order" on behalf of a lawyer he met at a social event.

Prior to his time presiding over trials, DeLeon was a lawyer with the Philadelphia Housing Authority. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

If elected mayor, DeLeon plans to implement rent control, hire 4,000 new workers to fill vacancies at City Hall and add 1,500 cops to the police department. He has also pledged to appoint a deputy mayor or commissioner of public safety to run a Local Incident Management System, or interagency city program, to address gun violence.

DeLeon was raised in West Philly and graduated from West Catholic High School. He later earned a bachelor's degree from Howard University and a law degree from Widener's Delaware Law School. He currently lives in Germantown.

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