Judge diagnosed with cancer; slurs words during trial

DELAWARE COUNTY, Pa. (YC) – A highly respected judge out of Delaware County is no longer on the bench.

YC broke the story early Wednesday when we confirmed the career of Judge Nilon, who could only be described as a humble and warm-hearted man, was cut short following tragic news.

Delaware County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Kevin F. Kelly released the following statement to YC:

“Whether his sixteen (16) years as magisterial district judge or the twelve (12) years he presided as a trial judge, the hallmarks of Judge Nilon’s judicial tenures were his reasonableness, compassion, understanding, and unwavering commitment in every case coming before him to do the right thing. Despite the current of emotions underlining those matters in the court’s family and criminal sections where he served with such distinction, Judge Nilon always remained a gentleman being respectful to all involved. For those of us who had the privilege and pleasure to serve and work with Judge Nilon, we all know of his personable nature and that he is just a genuinely good guy. While over the course of time his now vacant judicial position will be filled, what Judge Nilon meant and contributed to this bench will not be replaced. Judge Nilon on many levels will by the Delaware County courts be very much missed.”

Judge James Nilon of the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas has been diagnosed with cancer, possibly brain cancer, sources told YC earlier this week.

According to sources, Judge Nilon slurred words during jury charging, a proceeding where the judge reads the instructions to the jury.

In giving the instructions, the judge states the issues in the case and define any terms or words that may not be familiar to the jurors.


Judge Nilon is a graduate of Archmere Academy, PMC College and the Delaware Law School of Widener University, where he served as a member of the Law Review and Moot Court Honor Society.

He was admitted to the bar in 1978 and was involved in the general practice of law.

Prior to his election to the Court of Common Pleas, he served as Magisterial District Judge, Middletown Township, for more than 16 years. He was President of the District Judge Association in 2003.

Judge Nilon presently presided in the Criminal Trial Section.

Judge Nilon and his wife, Leslie, reside in Middletown Township.


Article written by Nik Tzimas Hatziefstathiou (twitter/instagram) with biography provided by Delaware County website. Statement exclusively provided by the Delaware County Office of the District Attorney.

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