Apparently upset by the lawyer’s remarks after she dismissed an eviction case, Magisterial District Judge Aurelis Figueroa has found Lebanon attorney George Christianson in criminal contempt of court and sentenced him to jail.

According to Greer Anderson, Christianson’s attorney, Figueroa sentenced Christianson on Feb. 23 to 72 hours in the Lebanon County Correctional Facility, but an appeal filed later that day to the Court of Common Pleas has stopped the jail sentence pending a decision.

Because Christianson was convicted of a summary offense, the lowest level of crime in Pennsylvania, he is entitled to a hearing without a jury before a Common Pleas Court judge.

Anderson said Christianson was representing landlord Harold Dice in a Jan. 18 eviction hearing before Figueroa at which the tenant agreed that she hadn’t paid rent and promised to vacate within 30 days, which was acceptable to Dice. 

Anderson said that, despite the agreement of all parties involved, Figueroa dismissed the eviction action. 

Figueroa, who did not return a phone call seeking comment, accused Christianson of calling her an uncomplimentary name after the dismissal, leading to the contempt charge, according to Anderson.

Anderson told LebTown that the contempt statute relied upon by Figueroa does not apply to Christianson because it expressly excludes attorneys, who are “officers of the court.” 

Christianson had no comment when reached by telephone on Feb. 23.

Figueroa, who was elected to a six-year term in 2021, was accused last year by several rental property owners of being biased in favor of Hispanic tenants, and was at the center of a controversial bail reduction decision involving a defendant accused of a triple murder.

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...


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