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Philadelphia Bar Association Issues More Judicial Candidate Recommendations
To prepare voters for the May 19 primary election, the Philadelphia Bar
Association’s Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention has been evaluating the candidates for judge of Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court.
Following the Commission’s last meeting on April 17, two candidates have been added to the list for Municipal Court:
Kenneth J. Powell, Jr.
In addition, while Adam Beloff removed himself from the Municipal Court ballot, he remains a recommended candidate for judge of the Court of Common Pleas.
This year, voters will elect seven candidates to the Court of Common Pleas and four to
Municipal Court. While a full, updated list of judicial candidates rated by the Commission can be found at www.electqualifiedjudges.com, the Philadelphia Bar Association notes that updates have occurred since releasing its first list of evaluated candidates on April 6.
The Philadelphia Bar Association’s Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention will release additional ratings on candidates following its final meeting on April 24.
“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
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 whom are not 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.”
The Commission’s current list (as of April 20) of evaluated candidates includes:
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Recommended:
Gregory A. Coleman
Robert P. Coleman
Anne Marie B. Coyle
Angelo J. Foglietta
Jonathan Q. Irvine
Donna M. Woelpper
John J. Capaldi
W. Fred Harrison
Elinore O’Neill Kolodner
Sharon Williams Losier
Philadelphia Municipal Court Recommended:
Patrick F. Dugan
Jonathan Q. Irvine
Joseph T. Murphy, Jr.
Kenneth J. Powerll, Jr.
Dawn A. Segal
Joseph C. Waters, Jr.