Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts to recognize the legislators with the inaugural Judge Edmund B. Spaeth, Jr. Award during its Judicial Independence Benefit in October.
(Philadelphia) Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC) is proud to announce that Rep. Bryan Cutler (R – Lancaster) and Rep. Madeleine Dean (D – Abington) will be honored with the inaugural Judge Edmund B. Spaeth, Jr. Award.
Both are primary co-sponsors of HB 111, which would require a ballot referendum for voters to amend the Pennsylvania Constitution to create a citizens’ nominating commission to select appellate judges.
Currently, Pennsylvania is one of only six states still electing all of its judges in partisan political elections.
The Judge Edmund B. Spaeth, Jr. Award is named for the former President Judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, former PMC Board Chair, and longtime advocate of merit selection of judges and fair and impartial courts.
“As a legislator, it is my job to conduct not only myself in a way that serves Commonwealth residents, but also to influence government as a whole to do the same. It has been a pleasure to champion a bill that would more appropriately address unlawful lobbying practices to increase government transparency,” Rep. Cutler said.
“What an honor it is to be recognized for work we are doing to help people trust their government.”
“We are honored to receive this award, named for an extraordinary jurist, the late President Judge Edmund B. Spaeth Jr.,” added Rep. Dean.
“Judge Spaeth championed what he believed: that judges’ political campaigning is inconsistent with a fair and impartial judiciary. And even more eloquent than his words on the issue of merit selection were his actions: in 1985, he declined to run for retention to a second 10-year term on Pennsylvania’s Superior Court.”
“In this era of increasing political division, their bipartisan work on this common sense judicial reform effort is inspiring,” added Maida R. Milone, PMC President & CEO.
Elected in 2012 to represent Pennsylvania's 153rd Legislative District, Rep. Madeleine Dean has nearly three decades of experience as a lawyer, writer and teacher. For 10 years, before becoming a member of the House, Rep. Dean was assistant professor of English at La Salle University in Philadelphia, where she taught writing and rhetoric, legal writing, and ethics.
Along with Rep. Bryan Cutler, she has been the leading voice for merit selection reform in the Legislature.
Elected in 2006 to represent Pennsylvania's 100th Legislative District and a lifelong resident of the Peach Bottom area, Rep. Bryan Cutler began serving as the Majority Whip in 2015. He is a graduate of Widener Law School.
Rep. Cutler has been a driving force for merit selection reform, and with Rep. Dean, has provided the leadership needed to advance this legislation.
HB 111--endorsed by Pennsylvania’s five former living governors—is awaiting a vote by the full House of Representatives.
PMC will honor the Representatives during its Judicial Independence Benefit on October 25th at the College of Physicians in Philadelphia. To learn more, visit www.pmconline.org.
The Superior Court of Pennsylvania will hold a special session at 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at the Alumni Auditorium on the Widener University campus in the city of Chester.
The special session offers an opportunity for Widener students — as well as members of the public — to learn about the service of the judiciary to all Pennsylvanians.
Serving on the special session panel are Judges Jack A. Panella, Alice Beck Dubow, and James J. Fitzgerald. Judge Panella maintains chambers in Northampton County, while Judges Dubow and Fitzgerald maintain chambers in Philadelphia.
Read the full announcement here.
What’s wrong with partisan judicial elections? What is it that unites Republican and Democratic former governors against them, or that inspires bipartisan legislative action to replace them? Or how can anyone question the right of the people in a democratic society to elect their judges?
Read more in the Standard Speaker.
Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said Monday he will not pursue a formal complaint with the state Judicial Conduct Board against a Latrobe district judge who he alleged in court was unfairly biased against local prosecutors.
Following a hearing on Peck's allegations, Common Pleas Court President Judge Richard E. McCormick Jr. last week removed District Judge Michael Mahady from presiding over a preliminary hearing for a 17-year Latrobe teen charged with fatally shooting a 15-year-old friend last month.
Read more in Trib Live.
Just before a jury was to be chosen for his trial Monday morning, former Harrisburg District Judge Robert Jennings III pleaded no contest to charges that he strong-armed constables for campaign cash.
Senior Judge Harold F. Woelfel Jr. promptly sentenced the 67-year-old Jennings to 2 years on probation and ordered him to pay $2,135 in restitution to two of the constables who claimed they gave money to Jennings' 2009 election campaign under duress.
Read more from Penn Live.
It took nearly 200 years for a woman to be elected judge in Westmoreland County.
On Wednesday, 35 years after Donetta Ambrose broke the gender barrier on the local bench, the county's 10 full-time judges chose Rita Hathaway as the first woman elected to serve as president judge.
Hathaway, 67, of Murrysville will take over as the administrative head of the local court in January.
“I am very honored and very excited,” Hathaway said.
Read more from Tribune Live.
Although Jay Strang walked into one of Franklin County's largest courtrooms Thursday, in front of attorneys, his probation officer and a public defender, he wasn't nervous.
Strang is one of the first participants in the county's Good Wolf Treatment Court, a version of drug court that has been adapted to fit the county's needs.
Read more in Chambersburg Public Opinion.
Who’s on time? Who knows their stuff? Who’s the fairest of them all?
The verdicts are in.
Local lawyers got their chance to judge Luzerne County’s judges for a second year as part of a Citizens’ Voice poll. The newspaper asked members of the Wilkes-Barre Law & Library Association to grade the county’s 13 judges in areas of punctuality, legal knowledge, courteousness, impartiality and fairness.
Read more in the Citizens Voice.
Six years into a 28-year prison sentence, the disgraced judge who accepted kickbacks for funneling juvenile defendants to for-profit detention centers has left federal Bureau of Prisons custody and is now being held at the Dauphin County Prison ahead of an evidentiary hearing set for Sept. 14 related to a motion to vacate his sentence.
Read more in the Citizens Voice.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Max Baer this week announced the selection of seven counties to participate in the launch of the Pennsylvania State Roundtable’s Family Engagement Initiative.
The roundtable is a collaborative effort among state and national court and child welfare leaders.
Building upon past successes, the initiative will focus on enhancements to local child dependency systems which serve abused or neglected children and their families.
Read the full announcement here.
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