Embattled Lancaster city District Judge Kelly Ballentine suspended for a year

Kelly Ballentine

An embattled Lancaster city district judge has been suspended regarding her alleged failure to pay income taxes.

The state's Court of Judicial Discipline suspended Judge Kelly Ballentine on Friday, following a Thursday hearing in Harrisburg.

The Court of Judicial Discipline issued the order late Friday afternoon. The panel will decide permanent penalty at an upcoming sanctions hearing.

Ballentine will continue to receive medical benefits during the suspension.

A senior district judge will preside over cases at her office for the time being.

The state Judicial Conduct Board, essentially the prosecuting agency in the process, charged Ballentine with not paying state or federal income taxes between 2009 and 2013.

The board also charged that Ballentine has a prior conviction of conducting sales, during that same time, at her Lancaster city fashion store without a tax license.

Ballentine faced a separate legal battle when the state attorney general charged her in 2012 with dismissing her own parking tickets.

Ultimately, she pleaded guilty, paid a fine and was sentenced to probation. She was suspended from her judge duties for 16 months, before returning to the bench in June 2013 - on judicial probation.

She's been hearing cases ever since.

At the Thursday hearing, the Judicial Conduct Board argued that Ballentine violated the judicial probation with the tax violations. They also argued she violated the state constitution with the alleged misconduct.

Ballentine, district judge over a section of Lancaster city since 2006, is in the midst of her second six-year term.

She has declined to comment throughout the process, and wasn't immediately available for comment Friday.

Her attorney, Samuel Stretton, didn't return messages Friday.

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