As a municipal court judge for 34 years, James M. DeLeon said that while he served on the bench, he came face-to-face with stories of murders, rapes and robberies on a daily basis.
Now retired, he said that experience has helped him come up with a plan to stop the gun violence, and other crime. His plan calls for mentorship, job placement, reducing recidivism and extensive court supervision, in addition to jail time.
“Over the course of the last four years, we have seen our city go through a lot of tumultuous periods,” DeLeon said. “I am aware of many of them first hand. While serving as a judge for the municipal court of Philadelphia for more than 30 years, I helped address some of the ongoing problems that have plagued our city.”
Wednesday, before about two dozen supporters and journalists in front of the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice, 1301 Filbert St., where DeLeon worked, he announced that he was running for mayor of Philadelphia.
The retired judge joined five other former city officials who are in the mayor’s race. They include Allan Domb, owner of Allan Domb Real Estate and fellow City Council members Derek Green, Cherelle Parker and Maria Quiñones Sánchez, who have all resigned their positions to run for mayor. Last month, Rebecca Rhynhart resigned her position as city controller to run for mayor. All are Democrats.
Last week, Jeff Brown, president/CEO of Brown’s Super Stores, which owns several ShopRite and Fresh Grocer supermarkets, also jumped into the race for mayor.
“Right now our city is still burdened by the constant atrocities of gun violence,” DeLeon said. “With my background, relationships and experience as a former judge, I will be committed to working beside law enforcement to get a firm grip on the trouble that our great city has been facing.”
Right now, many of us are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families, he said. But many cannot due to the loss of loved one related to the violence.
“That doesn’t sit right with me,” said DeLeon a former captain in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “I have a plan of action to reduce gun violence in this city. As your mayor, this city’s safety will be my top priority.”