PA Bar Association Releases 2017 Judicial Ratings

pbalogo-transparent2c_FB_400x400The Pennsylvania Bar Association has released its biannual ratings for statewide judicial candidates for 2017.  

In races that often fly below the radar, the rating can make or break a candidate’s effort to earn a state party endorsement or win a primary.

There is one vacancy on the Pa. Supreme Court, 4 on the Pa. Superior Court, and 2 on the Commonwealth Court.

The nonpartisan rating system is based on an application submitted by each candidate. Here’s how the PA Bar defines its ratings, which it emphasizes are not intended to construe an official  endorsement (or unendorsement):

Highly Recommended: The candidate possesses the highest combination of legal ability, experience, integrity and temperament and would be capable of outstanding performance as a judge or justice of the court for which he/she is a candidate.

Recommended: Based on legal ability, experience, integrity and temperament, the candidate would be able to perform satisfactorily as a judge or justice of the court for which he/she is a candidate.

Not Recommended:  Based on legal ability, experience, integrity or temperament, or any combination thereof, at the present time, the candidate is inadequate to perform satisfactorily as a judge or justice of the court for which he/she is a candidate.

Candidates are presented in alphabetical order.

PA Supreme Court (One Vacancy)
Justice Sallie Updyke Mundy, Tioga County (R) – Highly Recommended
Judge Judith F. Olson (R)* – Highly Recommended
Judge Dwayne D. Woodruff, Allegheny County (D) – Recommended

PA Superior Court (Four Vacancies)
William F. Caye II, Allegheny County (D) – Not Recommended
Albert J. Flora Jr., Luzerne County (D)* – Recommended
Judge Emil A. Giordano (R) – Highly Recommended
Judge Wade A. Kagarise, Blair County (R) – Recommended
Judge Deborah A. Kunselman, Beaver County (D) – Highly Recommended
Judge Maria C. McLaughlin, Philadelphia County (D) – Recommended
Judge H. Geoffrey Moulton Jr., Montgomery County (D) – Highly Recommended
Judge Carolyn H. Nichols, Philadelphia County (D) – Recommended
Judge Paula A. Patrick, Philadelphia County (R) – Highly Recommended
Judge Lillian Harris Ransom, Philadelphia County (D)* – Highly Recommended
Judge Carl A. Solano, Philadelphia County (R)* – Highly Recommended
Craig W. Stedman, Lancaster County (R) – Highly Recommended

PA Commonwealth Court (Two Vacancies)
Rep. Bryan E. Barbin, Cambria County (D) – Recommended
Timothy Barry, Allegheny County (D) – Recommended
Judge Ellen H. Ceisler, Philadelphia County (D) – Recommended
Judge Joseph M. Cosgrove, Luzerne County (D) – Highly Recommended
James C. Crumlish III, Montgomery County (D)* – Highly Recommended
Todd Eagen, Lackawanna County (D) – Recommended
Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon, Delaware County (R) – Highly Recommended
Judge Paul N. Lalley (R) – Recommended
Irene McLaughlin Clark, Allegheny County (D) – Not Recommended
Kenneth J. Suter, Dauphin County (R)* – Recommended
Matthew L. Wolford, Erie County (R)* – Highly Recommended

*Indicates candidate has dropped out

The article has been edited to correct the Party affiliation of Judge Carl A. Solano.

February 1st, 2017 | Posted in Features, Front Page Stories, Top Stories | 34 Comments

34 thoughts on “PA Bar Association Releases 2017 Judicial Ratings”

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  5. Gael Coffin says:

    Why does Judge Mary Murray’s name not appear on the Bar Assn’s list of judicial candidates?

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  9. Sklaroftic says:

    What’s up that only one candidate from Allegheny County for Superior Court? They own that court. But typical for Allegheny County their candidate is unqualified.
    That did not stop Christine Donohue. She’s still unethical and stupid, but made it to PA Supreme Court.

  10. jjcnpa says:

    I will use this as my guide.

  11. Chet royer says:

    Is judge Patrick from Philadelphia an R? Do the exist there?

  12. Lancaster Voter says:

    Craig Stedman is a stand-up guy and I am proud to support him. The attacks I have read on this site are insanely inaccurate with regard to his record on animal cruelty. I just found a facebook post from the Humane Society of PA praising him and his office… https://www.facebook.com/HSUSPennsylvania/?fref=ts

    The Humane Society of the United States – Pennsylvania with Pspca Hspo Nicole Wilson and 2 others at Lancaster County Public Safety Center.
    January 25 at 6:28pm ·
    Here’s a shout out to HSUS Animal Cruelty Team’s Humane State program, PA Dog Law, Pennsylvania SPCA, and Federated Humane Societies of PA for training police officers on topics associated with animal cruelty, investigating cases related to animal crimes, and prosecuting animal abusers. And a sharp salute to District Attorney Craig Stedman with the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office for his leadership and collaboration to provide this training to Lancaster Co. law enforcement officers (150!).

  13. eagleswing says:

    well all the rank and file know that only what groan thinks matters. groan has taken away the input of all but a hand picked few state committee people whom he tapped for ‘his’ judicial evaluation committee. state dams will endorse whom ever groan says. that is hardly going to make people shut out of the process pound the streets for ‘state Dem committee’ endorsed candidates.

  14. Greg says:

    This is going to be interesting on the Republican side. SOLANO appears to be in the race but hasn’t participated in the endorsement process, which is very suspicious. One of two things is going to happen:
    1) The party knows one of the four chosen ones are going to drop on the day of endorsement and Solano will slip right in. My bet is Kagarise or Giordano.
    2) If #1 doesn’t happen, the ticket will be hurt because Solano has money and he will use it in the Primary, which will force the other candidates to spend money they don’t have just to survive.

    I predict this is all scripted. The question is – who is pulling the strings? Did you see what happened with Hal English miraculously appearing in the West Caucus meetings? This was done to take votes from other candidates. This whole game is a sham!

  15. Chuckie Porter the rat says:

    He ain’t no nice guy

  16. rick w. says:

    After reading William caye I can see why the AG got rid of him what a loose cannon lol.

  17. tommy boy says:

    Dude nice try, Craig Stedman stepped down from State Committee. MORE FAKE NEWS!

  18. MICKEY says:

    Looks like Kagarise is the only one not highly recommended for Republicans. I can not see him doing well in a statewide race. Party should endorse Solano and not him, in my opinion. Would make for a much stronger ticket. Even so, with only one woman on the ticket, Republicans are in trouble.

  19. Dude says:

    Stedman gets a vote for Chairman since he is a committee person. Word is that he is supporting Val…wonder why? Ha ha!

  20. the answer desk says:

    Everyone should read their commentary on Caye. LOL Great entertainment.

  21. the answer desk says:

    Diano…Ceisler is the ex-wife of the owner of this site.

  22. the answer desk says:

    News–Barbin doesn’t have to step down to run.

  23. the answer desk says:

    Cassie…link?

  24. News says:

    Rep. Bryan Barbin is stepping down and running?

  25. David Diano says:

    Is “Judge Ellen H. Ceisler, Philadelphia County (D)” related to Ceisler Media? If so, a notation should be made due to Ceisler connection with PoliticsPA

  26. Stay Informed PA says:

    Kimberly – Another lie. Stedman’s biggest supporter is supporting Lawrence Tabas and his County Chairman is supporting Val. Stedman Read Tabas endorsement to see a number of Lancaster County members listed. FACTS MATTER. STOP THE FAKE NEWS

  27. Kimberly says:

    Stay informed PA, what about the allegation that Stedman agreed to help Val DiGiorgio get votes for the chairman race in return for support in the Southeast? This is what Jim Cawley supposedly told people at the Caucus meeting. Is this a good quality to have as a judge? The special interest group PBA didn’t investigate this. I guess we will know on Saturday who made deals with whom. My guess – Stedman and the Lancaster people vote for Val. We shall see….

  28. Stay Informed PA says:

    Ray – Stedman is highly recommended and should be… The Bar wrote: While the candidate’s career has been primarily focused on criminal law, the commission is confident of his intellectual capabilities and the ability to transfer legal principles and reasoning to other areas of law required to serve on the Superior Court. The candidate has a strong history of community service in the Lancaster area, which has been primarily focused on crime and safety. Because of his intelligence, commitment to fairness and high ethical standards, the commission highly recommends the candidate for the Superior Court.

    Ray these attacks are getting old… Perhaps you should read this site -www.lipnews.blogspot.com to get some of the actual facts about Craig’s record.

  29. Bob says:

    Is Solano running without the endorsement? He wasn’t at any of the Caucus meetings..

  30. Kierran says:

    Please correct your page….
    Carl A. Solano is a Republican
    Lillian Ransom has withdrawn from running

  31. Ray says:

    Stedman highly recommended!?!? He has absolutely no civil experience. Plus the dems and PETA will be using this in a commercial: http://www.stedmanwalking.com

  32. Cassie says:

    Olson was the victim of politics. She should not have dropped out. Corman and his cronies pushed her out so they could get Mundy the endorsement for favors promised. Trial lawyers are throwing money at her. Why? Read below.

    Superior Court decisions have been evaluated by the Judicial Evaluation Institute in Washington, D.C. Every year they evaluate our appellate court judges on cases in which judges disagree. Over the more than two decades that these reports have been produced in various states, the principal users have been those concerned with liability issues and a perceived expansion of liability standards, such as chambers of commerce, medical associations, and elected officials, as they participate—or decide whether to participate—in judicial selection in a given state.

    Each currently-seated judge of the Pa Superior Court has been evaluated on his or her decisions in six broad areas of law and the effect of those decisions on civil liability in Pennsylvania’s law and courts. The areas are: employment, insurance, medical malpractice, “other” liability lawsuits,” product liability, and workers comp. Each currently-seated judge who participated in a sufficient number of cases is given an overall cumulative score. The higher the score, the more the judge’s opinions have had the effect of restraining liability, in JEI’s opinion.

    Judge Mundy, in 2015 and 2016, received the lowest score of all judges, both Democrat and Republican, with 11% in 2015 and 8% in 2016.
    Judge Judy Olson scored 51% in 2016 and 50% in 2015, in the top 3 for both years.

    Enough said.

  33. Former D.A. says:

    Olson did the right thing. She is already in over her head.

  34. mark b. says:

    The only one not recommended for superior court, is William caye.I guess chuckie was right.

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