A York County judge has recused himself from considering the request of former York City Councilwoman Toni Smith to enter the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program rather than defend herself at a trial against the accusation that she violated the election code last year.
York County Judge John S. Kennedy will hear the case instead of Judge Michael Bortner, York County District Attorney Tom Kearney said Friday.
Kearney, who recommended Smith for the ARD program, said he did not know the specific reason for Bortner's decision to recuse himself.
The hearing is now scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Kearney said.
If accepted into the yearlong program, Smith would be required to perform community service and comply with any conditions set by the judge. A defendant's record is expunged if they successfully complete the program, Kearney has said.
Entering the ARD program is neither an admission of guilt nor a conviction.
Smith was charged in October with unlawfully donating money to a committee that distributed fliers attacking another candidate before last year's primary. She allegedly made a $950 cash donation to the Committee for York's Future, which used the money to produce a flier questioning Michael Helfrich's ability to hold public office because of a 1991 felony drug conviction.
The district attorney's office has alleged Smith violated a section of the election code that states it is unlawful to make a cash contribution that "exceeds $100 with respect to any candidate for election."
At a preliminary hearing in December, a district judge determined enough evidence existed for the case to go to trial.
In February, Smith waived her formal court arraignment and entered a plea of not guilty.