I have the training and experience necessary to discharge the duties of this office fairly and equitably. I am passionate about ensuring the residents of this District have a judge at the district court level that will do everything possible to ensure each of their individual rights and liberties are protected.
You can disagree without being disagreeable. - Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
I understand and appreciate the immense impact that a judge's demeanor and attitude has on all persons in a courtroom. The impact of a judge who shows respect, understanding and fairness to all who enter the courtroom positively impacts everyone involved. If given the opportunity to serve as MDJ, I intend to ensure that our District Court is a place where treating others with respect, honesty, and temperance is expected and anything less will not be tolerated.
Independence means you decide according to the law and the facts. - Stephen Breyer, Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
As an attorney, I took an oath to "support, obey and defend" the Constitution of the United States of America and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I take that oath very seriously because I cherish my freedom. While it may seem counterintuitive at first, it is our governing laws that guarantee our freedom by safeguarding our personal liberties. The Constitution does not restrict our liberties - it safeguards them by limiting the government's power to enact laws restricting what we say and do, how and when we worship, and the manner in which we protect ourselves from tyranny.
As judge, I will continue to support, obey and defend both Constitutions and ensure that everyone is treated fairly, equally, and justly.
If children do not understand the Constitution, they cannot understand how our government functions, or what their rights and responsibilities are as citizens of the United States." - John Roberts, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
I intend to open the District Court up for educational days for class field trips and other organizations to help inform our younger citizens about the court system and to stress the importance of the values that are important in and out of the court room, like treating each person with respect, temperance, minding your manners, and not speaking out of turn. Also, the court process is a great opportunity to teach our younger citizens important life lessons about winning and losing and how to properly manage emotional reactions on both sides.
None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody – a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns – bent down and helped us pick up our boots.- Thurgood Marshall, Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
I know the reason I was able to make it through some of the most pressing times of my career was because I had the support of my family, friends, former teachers, parishioners, coaches, employers, and countless others who continued to encourage and support me long after I graduated from PV High School. Because of this, one of my two main career goals has always been to move back home and take everything I have learned in my legal career to somehow help the community that supported me for so many years. After discussing how to best accomplish this with some former colleagues and professors, I realized that the way I could do this and have the greatest positive impact was by being a judge.
Anyone who knows me well can tell you, I am extremely passionate about the law and will be 100% committed to doing the best job I possibly can if elected. They would also tell you that I am the last person who would be excited about entering into a political contest -- the only types of contests I am interested in entering involve raffle tickets, volleyballs, or bowling alleys.
If elected as your District Court Judge, I could ensure that the residents of the district are treated equally under the law, are able to have their disputes with each other resolved fairly and efficiently, and also make sure they are being afforded their constitutional rights if they are charged with a crime. I already have five years of experience deciding civil cases as a certified arbitrator. On the criminal side, I have worked for two judges who handled the same types of criminal cases, worked for a District Attorney who met with law enforcement to review and approved criminal charges and warrants, and I worked in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office where I did the same thing in the federal system. My experience and training is a perfect match for this job, so even though I really was not excited about entering a political election race, I see it as a means to an end to do what I am committed to do - give back to the people who gave me so much. I remember the joys of my childhood here, and I want to help rebuild and maintain that same sense of community for the next generations to enjoy.
With a legal career dating back to my years in high school days, I have been in a courtroom for over half of my life. As a practicing attorney for the past 17 years, it was my job to represent clients and argue their cases in court in front of judges. I have handled a wide variety of criminal and civil matters and have experience in every type of matter that could possibly come before a Magisterial District Judge. I also have served in a judge-type role for over five years. I was a certified arbitrator in two Pennsylvania counties where civil legal matters that were filed with the Court of Common Pleas where the Plaintiff was asking for less than $50,000.00 in damages were required to go to arbitration before a certified arbitrators. The arbitrators would hold "court," the parties would each present their side of the case and the arbitrators would issue binding Orders just like a District Judge does. The Orders held the same weight as Court Orders and if the parties were unhappy with the result, they could file an appeal to the Court and have the matter reviewed by a Court of Common Pleas judge. So, in short, I am courtroom tested on both sides of the bench, know and understand the law, rules of court, and rules of evidence, and how to apply them to the facts of each case.
Because judges are tasked with the duty of making rulings based on the application of the law as it is written, and not based on the judges personal political beliefs, the Pennsylvania election laws permit candidates for judicial office to "cross-file" petitions for the primary election, which means that if a judicial candidate gets the required number of signatures from registered Democrats in their election district on their nomination petition and files it with the elections office, the candidate would be listed on the Democratic ticket during the May Primary Election - regardless of whether the candidate is a Democrat or a Republican. Same thing holds true for inclusion on the Republican ballot. If the candidate can get enough registered Republicans to sign their nomination petition, the candidate can also be listed on the Republican ticket during the May Primary Election, even if that candidate is a Democrat. Unlike in the vast majority of other types of political elections, in judicial races It does not matter which party the judicial candidate is personally affiliated, so long as it is one of the two main parties. Judicial candidates who are not registered members of either the Democratic or Republican parties are not able to file nomination petitions for the primary election and instead must wait until the General Election in November.
Unless you have encountered one, odds are you do not know what they do. In Pennsylvania, Magisterial District Judges are the front line of the judicial system. These judges set bail in criminal cases, handle all traffic related cases, landlord/tenant disputes and hear civil cases and criminal cases. The District Court plays a major role within the criminal justice system. Most criminal cases, including cases of homicide, are initiated in District Court and proceed through to the Preliminary Hearing stage where the District Judge determines if sufficient evidence has been presented to send the criminal case to the Court of Common Pleas for trial.
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