Open Thread of Judicial Newspaper Endorsements

PA Judicial CenterIt’s that time of year again. Newspapers around PA are backing candidates. Here’s PoliticsPA’s running list of endorsements in the judicial races. We’ll update as they come in.

Did we miss one? Please email the link to press@politicspa.com.

Post-Gazette

Supreme Court: Democratic candidates: Christine Donohue, Anne Lazarus, David Wecht

“Christine L. Donohue. On Superior Court for seven years, Judge Donohue, 62, of Point Breeze was an attorney for 27 years. With extensive civil trial and appellate court experience, she was listed in Best Lawyers in America. While on Superior Court, she served on the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court and on the Court of Judicial Discipline. Rated “highly recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, Judge Donohue teaches lawyers and judges about judicial ethics. She takes pride in the Superior Court holding sessions away from the major cities and we were impressed by her desire to bring the judges’ work closer to the people — something she’d like the Supreme Court to do.”

“Anne E. Lazarus. A member of the Superior Court since 2010, Judge Lazarus, 62, of Philadelphia was a lawyer for 15 years, providing counsel for Philadelphia Orphans Court and working in her firm’s estates department. A Common Pleas judge for 19 years, she spent time in criminal and civil courts. In 2010 she was appointed to the Judicial Conduct Board, eventually serving as chair; while there she helped develop new rules of conduct for the state’s judges. Judge Lazarus has taught a course on courtroom tactics to lawyers and civics to 10th-graders. “Highly recommended” by the bar, she puts a premium on ethics, saying, “When you put on that black robe, you have to be different, you have to be better. Ethics must come from the top down.”

“David N. Wecht. On Superior Court since 2011, Judge Wecht, 52, of Indiana Township was a practicing attorney for 14 years and was elected the county’s register of wills. In 2003 he became a judge on Common Pleas Court and created the “one family, one judge” program to provide consistency for families that make repeat visits. Judge Wecht is a big believer in strong ethics and transparency, and the Post-Gazette was impressed by his commitment to curb judicial misconduct. He favors a ban on gifts to judges, tougher anti-nepotism rules and public broadcasts of court sessions. He is “highly recommended” by the state bar.”

GOP Candidates: Cheryl Allen, Judy Olson, Correale Stevens

“Cheryl L. Allen. Judge Allen, 67, of Hampton has sat on Superior Court since 2008. She practiced law for 15 years for Neighborhood Legal Services, the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the Allegheny County Law Department. In 1990 she was appointed to Common Pleas Court and won election to it the next year, where she served until joining Superior Court. The judge prides herself on independence and nonpartisanship and is a trustee for Waynesburg University and a board member for Hosanna House and the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation. The Pennsylvania Bar Association rated her “highly recommended,” saying she “sets the standard for administrative efficiency.”

“Judith F. Olson. On Superior Court since 2010, Judge Olson, 57, of Franklin Park practiced law for 25 years, specializing in complex civil litigation. In 2008, she was appointed to Common Pleas Court and after a year ran successfully for the appellate court. The state bar rated Judge Olson “highly recommended,” saying she displays “excellent administrative skills” as shown by her ability, with her Superior Court colleagues, to issue more than 300 opinions a year. She has extensive community involvements, which keep her close to the cares of average people, and a deep desire to restore integrity to the Supreme Court.”

“Correale F. Stevens. Justice Stevens, 68, is the only Supreme Court candidate this year who is already on the court. After a distinguished legal and judicial career, he was appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate in 2013 to fill the vacancy left by Justice Joan Orie Melvin. The Luzerne County resident was an attorney who served as city solicitor of Hazleton before winning a seat in the state House. He later became district attorney, then was elected to Common Pleas Court, where he served for seven years. He ran successfully in 1997 for Superior Court, where he became president judge. The bar rated Justice Stevens “highly recommended,” applauding his “unique and wide breadth of experience.” He is a jurist dedicated to rehabilitating the image of a tarnished court.”

Philadelphia Tribune

Justice of the Supreme Court: Cheryl Allen

Judge of the Court of Common Pleas: Sherman Toppin, Leon A. King, Mia Roberts Perez, Lyris Younge,Frances Fattah, Kai Scott, Tracy Roman and Christine Hope

Judge of the Municipal Court: Sharon Williams Losier and Joffe C. Pittman

Tribune-Review

Supreme Court: Cheryl Allen, Correale Stevens, David Wecht

“Cheryl L. Allen, a Hampton Republican, has a long history as an exemplary jurist. She has served on the state Superior Court for the last seven years. Before that, she served on Allegheny County Common Pleas Court for 18 years. She is the definition of experience, impartiality and good temperament.

Correale F. Stevens, a Luzerne County Republican, was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gov. Tom Corbett in 2013 to replace Justice Joan Orie Melvin, who left the court in criminal disgrace. His combined 23 years as a Common Pleas and Superior court judge established a solid foundation for this jurist with a strikingly good temperament and excellent grasp of the law.

David N. Wecht, an Indiana Township Democrat, offers a most impressive legal intellect. He has served with distinction on the Superior Court for the past four years and was an Allegheny County Common Pleas judge for eight years. Intense, probing and wickedly articulate, Judge Wecht exudes integrity, legal and personal.”

Commonwealth Court: Democratic Candidates: Michael Wojcik

Mr. Wojcik, the solicitor for then-Allegheny County Controller Dan Onorato, became county solicitor in 2003 when Mr. Onorato became chief executive. He serves as the county Airport Authority’s solicitor and assists, pro bono , women seeking protection-from-abuse orders. An Eagle Scout and director of the Boy Scouts of America Laurel Highlands Council, Mike Wojcik is well suited for Commonwealth Court’s focus on appeals involving governmental and regulatory agencies, along with civil trials involving the state.

Superior Court: Democratic Candidates: Robert Colville

Bob Colville has the temperament and experience necessary for Superior Court, which hears appeals of criminal cases and most civil cases, including civil cases involving children and families.

Pittsburgh Courier

Supreme Court: Cheryl Allen, Dwayne Woodruff

There are two very strong African American candidates running for one of the three openings on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. On the Democratic side is Judge Dwayne Woodruff of the Common Pleas Court and on the Republican side is Judge Cheryl Allen. Both have been very active in the community and the court system, and are very qualified. They both will be a very big asset to the Black community and the state as a whole if they are elected. We also endorse Judge David Wecht who has proven himself to be a very qualified judge and would be a very positive force for the African American community if he were elected to the court.

Pocono Record

Superior Court: Robert Colville

“Allegheny County Judge Robert J. Colville is seeking a seat on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania. He deserves your vote.

Colville, a Democrat with 15 years’ experience on the bench, comes “highly recommended” by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission, the only candidate among six to receive that designation.

But the coveted evaluation is not the only reason Colville stands above the crowd as an outstanding judicial candidate. He is not accepting campaign donations for the primary, noting his feeling that money, in particular larger donations, is a “corrosive influence” in the electoral process. No one appearing in court, he said, should have to wonder whether the judge presiding in the case received a campaign contribution from a lawyer or litigant on the other side.”

4 Responses

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  2. Not much mention of Ann “I’m just waiting to hear from the bar association” Covey, is there?

  3. @Jim, are you one of those people who cannot think for himself — who borrows the narrative he hears someone else saying, or do you actually believe it’s a good idea to hire the lesser candidate so that he or she may give us less for longer? Are you serious? I’d be curious to know what you’ve done with your life that you can sit there on your keyboard and dismiss Allen’s 25-years on the bench as something other than a treasure. Go back to sleep.

  4. Stevens and Allen are too old to be on the Court. They can’t fulfill their terms – Stevens 69 and Allen 68. They shouldn’t be running in my opinion.

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