Judge Paul A. Dandridge, retired judge of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, died on Thursday at home. He was 93.
Dandridge was born June 21, 1926 in West Philadelphia. He was educated in the city’s public school system and graduated from West Philadelphia High School. After high school, Dandridge briefly attended Howard University but was drafted into the Army Air Corps in March 1945 during WWII. After his military service, he eventually enrolled in and graduated from Lincoln University with honors.
He worked several jobs, including a stint at the post office and for the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s office, before deciding it was a “dead-end” job. He attended Temple University’s law school and worked as an investigator for the city’s Commission on Human Relations. After graduating from law school in 1965, Dandridge worked as an assistant district attorney under then District Attorney Arlen Specter.
Dandridge began his career in the courts as a magistrate in 1968. When the Philadelphia Municipal Court was created, he was one of the first judges to serve as a Municipal Court Judge. During his time in the municipal court, Dandridge also ran the drug court, specially created for people suffering from drug addiction, for three years, and served on a governor’s council specially created by state legislation to address drug addiction. Dandridge was eventually elected to the Court of Common Pleas, from which he retired in 1984.
He is survived by his wife Claudia Dandridge, Esquire, a son, Paul A. (PJ) Dandridge II, a daughter-in-law, Shawna Dandridge, nephews Al (Bubby) Dandridge, Esquire, Michael Pierce and Carl Pierce, and nieces Diane Brown, Carmen Dandridge-Spiva and Carolyn-Michelle Pierce. Services for Dandridge will be private.