April 06, 2009
Recommendations Issued for Judicial Candidates
To prepare voters for the May 19 primary election, the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention is evaluating the candidates for judge of Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court.
“The Bar Association’s mission is to ensure a fair and independent judiciary, and we take the work of this Commission very seriously,” says Chancellor Sayde Ladov. “Judges have enormous power. Our recommendations help Philadelphia’s citizens choose qualified judges.”
This year, voters will elect seven candidates to the Court of Common Pleas and four to Municipal Court. Below are the Commission’s first round of ratings. The list is not complete; ratings will continue to be released as evaluations are concluded.
The following candidates have been rated recommended for election to the Court of Common Pleas:
Christine Adair; Daniel Anders; Adam Beloff; Gregory A. Coleman; Robert P. Coleman; Anne Marie B. Coyle; James C. Crumlish, III; Joyce Eubanks; Angelo J. Foglietta; Jonathan Q. Irvine; Sean F. Kennedy; James R. Lloyd, III; Thomas Martin; J. Scott O’Keefe; Daniel A. Rendine; Angeles Roca; Dawn A. Segal; Diane Thompson and Donna M. Woelpper
The following candidates have been rated not recommended for election to the Court of Common Pleas:
John J. Capaldi; Judge Hall; W. Fred Harrison, Jr. and Beverly Muldrow
The following candidates have been rated recommended for election to Municipal Court:
Christine Adair; Adam Beloff; Patrick F. Dugan; Jonathan Q. Irvine; Sean F. Kennedy; Joseph T. Murphy, Jr.; Daniel A. Rendine; Dawn A. Segal; Joseph C. Water, Jr. and Donna M. Woelpper
The following candidate has been rated not recommended for election to Municipal Court:
For 33 years, the Philadelphia Bar Association has issued its recommendations on judicial candidates. The evaluation process is a rigorous one. Candidates must complete a lengthy questionnaire and provide three writing samples. Once the Bar receives these materials, the Investigative Division takes over. Made up of 120 members, one-third of which are non-lawyers, and covering a broad spectrum of the legal profession and the public sector, the Investigative Division interviews each candidate, performs a background check and interviews all professional associates of the candidate.
The Investigative Division then presents a report to the Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention, a group including the President Judges of Common Pleas Court and Municipal Court, the Chief Public Defender, the City Solicitor, the Chancellor, Chancellor-Elect and Vice Chancellor of the Bar Association and representatives of diverse interests within the community. After the report is reviewed, each candidate comes before the Commission to make a statement regarding his/her qualifications and for a question-and-answer session. Once this process is complete, each Commission member casts a secret ballot on whether the candidate will be designated “recommended” or “not recommended.”
Those found "recommended" satisfy a cumulative review of criteria including qualifications such as legal ability and training, trial experience, character, integrity, judicial temperament and mental and physical ability and community involvement. A “not recommended” candidate has the opportunity to appeal the decision by appearing again before the Commission. Often, candidates who lose this appeal decide to withdraw their candidacy.
“The release of these recommendations helps voters realize how dramatically those serving in our city’s courtrooms affect their lives,” says William P. Fedullo, Chair of the Commission. “It is imperative that Philadelphians go to the polls on May 19.”