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Montco judge rescinds constable’s election victory

Accusing a former deputy constable of deceiving voters, a Montgomery County Court judge ordered him stricken today as the winner of one of two constable races in Lower Merion Township.

"This guy had no right to run," Judge Paul W. Tressler said of Steven D. Sokoloff, 58. "The evidence is circumstantial, but it's overwhelming."

In a related case, Tressler found Sokoloff in contempt of a December 2007 consent decree, in which Sokoloff agreed to give up working as a deputy constable and agreed not to run for constable in Montgomery County.

The judge ordered Sokoloff to pay a $2,500 fine and spend two weekends, a total of four days, in jail, a sentence that will begin Jan. 29.

Sokoloff's attorney, Jonathan F. Altman, said "both cases" will be appealed. Sokoloff said he was too upset to comment.

Assistant District Attorney Anthony Gil said a procedure is in place to fill the vacancy with a court appointment until the next election.

Gil said Tressler's ruling confirmed that Sokoloff had violated a court order barring him from seeking the constable position and "sends a message that in Montgomery County, court orders must be followed."

According to the agreement, which was signed by Tressler, Sokoloff promised not to work as a deputy constable anywhere in the state and not to run for constable in Montgomery County.

In exchange, the District Attorney's Office agreed not to prosecute Sokoloff for about a dozen complaints stemming from his work as a deputy constable and to spare his wife, Julie Sokoloff, who appointed him, from any potential civil penalties.