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Plum admits past criminal activity

April 03, 2009|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. -- A magisterial district judge candidate acknowledged Thursday that he was charged with solicitation of a prostitute and driving under the influence in separate incidents in 2000 and 2002.

"My response to it is that I (wasn't) the same person I am now. ... I'm not proud of it, but it is part of who I am," said David Plum of Chambersburg.

Plum is running for the currently vacant magisterial district judge position in District 39-3-03, which has its office in Pleasant Hall, Pa. He owns storage units and took a certification class for magisterial district judges.

His opponent, Carol Redding, and her husband, Patrick J. Redding, made The Herald-Mail aware of Plum's criminal history Thursday. The Reddings, both attorneys, said they are concerned about Plum's impartiality as a judge presiding over arraignments and preliminary hearings.

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For his part, Plum responded that he feels "blackmailed and bullied" by the Reddings. The couple earlier filed a complaint saying that third candidate Michael Waters did not obtain enough valid nomination signatures from registered voters.

Franklin County Judge Richard Walsh determined that Waters, a Republican, was not eligible to appear on ballots in the May 19 primary.

"When they had him thrown out, I figured I was next," said Plum, a Republican.

Carol Redding, a Democrat, said the only blemish on her criminal record is a traffic ticket that was dismissed. Any criminal violations could jeopardize her license to practice law, she said.

Plum said he picked up an undercover police officer he believed was a hitchhiker in August 2000. He said, "I didn't have a nickel in my pocket" during the incident in Hagerstown. He participated in Maryland's "probation before judgment" program, meaning his conviction was cleared after a year of unsupervised probation.

In the DUI arrest, Plum claims he was stopped by a bicycle cop who did not administer breathalyzer or blood-alcohol content tests. His case entered the "stet" status, which also expunged the charges after time.

Additionally, Plum had two cases that dealt with passing bad checks, one of which was over $1,000. He ultimately paid both of those debts.

"This has all been about a decade ago. Who doesn't have things in the past?" Plum asked, saying he's married and active in a church now.

Plum intends to remain on ballots. Both candidates cross-filed, so they will appear on both Republican and Democratic ballots as is permitted for judge candidates.

"I believe in our system, and I believe in me," he said.

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