PENNSYLVANIA BAR ASSOCIATION JUDICIAL EVALUATION COMMISSION 2007 SUPERIOR COURT CANDIDATE RATINGS

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

RATINGS OF RETENTION CANDIDATES

Judge Michael T. Joyce
Rating: Recommended for Retention
(Editor's note: Judge Joyce announced on Aug. 20 that he will not seek retention.)

Prior to his election to the Superior Court in 1997, Judge Joyce served as a judge on the Erie County Court of Common Pleas for almost 13 years where he worked diligently to improve the efficiency and consistency of that court's family division. He later served in the court's criminal and civil divisions. Before becoming a lawyer, Judge Joyce served in the U.S. Army and was a decorated Vietnam veteran. During his term on the Superior Court, Judge Joyce worked hard, earned the respect of his colleagues as an able and productive jurist, and became an asset to the court. His demeanor is excellent. He is courteous of litigants. He has authored a guide to assist trial judges in resolving child custody matters. His Superior Court colleagues agree that he has served that court with distinction. He is an untiring contributor to the Erie County Bar Association through his work on continuing legal education programs. Judge Joyce also speaks to local school and Bar groups and has prepared written materials for and lectured to sky marshals employed by the Homeland Security Department. Recently, it was reported that a grand jury is investigating Judge Joyce's settlement of his claim for personal injuries he sustained in a 2001 automobile accident. Judge Joyce has denied any wrongdoing in the matter. Because of the secretive nature of grand jury proceedings, the Commission is unable to discover all the information that the grand jury has heard or what its investigation entails. The facts that are known about the investigation, which are not much above the status of rumor, do not rise to a level that would affect the Commission's positive evaluation of Judge Joyce's abilities and contributions. For his overwhelmingly positive qualities and for his contributions to the court and the people of this commonwealth, Judge Joyce is recommended for retention on the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

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Judge Joan Orie Melvin, Allegheny County
Rating: Recommended for Retention

Judge Melvin served on the City of Pittsburgh's Municipal Court and then on the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas before being elected to the Superior Court 10 years ago. During her term on the Superior Court, she has been involved in the disposition of more than 750 cases per year involving virtually all areas of the law. Judge Melvin is recognized for her strong analytical and writing skills, and her opinions are well reasoned and clearly written. She has shown her commitment to the administration of justice by her involvement in the implementation of many innovative and effective programs on the courts she has served. Judge Melvin has a solid record of community involvement and is a frequent participant in Bar-related educational programs. She has gained the respect of both her peers on the bench and the lawyers who appear before her. Her integrity is unquestioned, and she has demonstrated a thorough knowledge of the law and rules of court. Because of her impressive record of service as a Superior Court judge, Judge Melvin has earned the Commission's recommendation for a second 10-year term.

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Judge John L. Musmanno, Allegheny County
Rating: Recommended for Retention

Judge Musmanno was elected to the Superior Court in 1997 after having served as a judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas since 1981. During his tenure on the Superior Court, he has shown a keen interest in improving the administration of justice in the commonwealth and the efficient use of court systems and procedures. In that regard, he is an active member of the Case Management Committee and is the liaison for the court's mediation program. He served on the Judicial Conduct Board from 2001 to 2005 and is presently on the Court of Judicial Discipline. He is highly regarded for his intelligence, courteousness, fairness, judicial temperament and professionalism. Lawyers who appear before him find him well prepared, attentive and able to get to the heart of any issue. Judge Musmanno's opinions are thorough and reasoned. He is held in high esteem by his judicial colleagues. Judge Musmanno has clearly has demonstrated all of the qualities necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of an appellate judge during his initial term and the Commission recommends his retention.

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Judge Correale F. Stevens, Luzerne County
Rating: Recommended for Retention

Judge Stevens was elected to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania in 1997. Prior to his election, he served as a trial judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County for seven years. In 1987, he was elected district attorney of Luzerne County and he served four terms in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1980 to 1988. Judge Stevens is held in high esteem throughout the legal community and is known for consistently being thoroughly prepared, polite, courteous and fair. His legal opinions are well reasoned, clearly written and demonstrate a broad knowledge of the law. His administrative abilities are evidenced by his service as chair of the Technology Committee of the Superior Court. Judge Stevens has an exceptional record of community and professional involvement. Through his service, he has shown an unquestionable devotion to enhancing the quality of justice. Because of Judge Stevens' work ethic, respect of his peers and devotion to the quality of justice, the Commission recommends his retention as a judge of the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Read the Candidate's questionnaire.

RATINGS OF CANDIDATES FOR TWO VACANCIES

Judge Cheryl L. Allen, Allegheny County
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Candidate compiled 15 years of experience in various aspects of the law before beginning service as a common pleas court judge in 1990. From 1991 to 2004, during her tenure in juvenile court, she developed and implemented innovative programs to improve the functioning of that court and to address the needs of the children and parents involved in that setting. She spearheaded a drive to direct juvenile offenders to a path of productivity through education. She has a well-earned reputation as a productive, principled and dedicated jurist who decides cases with fairness and impartiality. She has earned the admiration of the bench and bar for her ability to manage large caseloads, and she is recognized by the bench and bar to be intelligent, experienced, articulate and fair. A lifelong public servant, she has demonstrated her responsiveness to the needs of the community and the justice system. The Candidate is well prepared to ascend to the Superior Court. She is highly recommended by the Commission.

Read the Candidate’s questionnaire.

Judge Bruce E. Bratton, Dauphin County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate was appointed to the common pleas bench in 2001 following 25 years of active practice in the areas of real estate, estate planning, family law and general litigation. He was then elected to a 10-year term, commencing January 2002. He has established a reputation as a bright, hard-working and intelligent jurist who is conscientious, fair minded and courteous to those who appear before him. His opinion-writing talents are well recognized, and he has taken the lead in developing new procedures in the Dauphin County court. He has been active in community affairs. His experience as a practicing lawyer and his reputation as jurist confirm that he is to be recommended for a seat on the Superior Court.

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Judge Richard M. Cappelli, Delaware County
Rating: Not Recommended

The Candidate is a magisterial judge for Delaware County district court. He was appointed by Gov. Robert P. Casey in 1992 and he has served diligently and competently. He is well regarded by the judges and lawyers of Delaware County and is dedicated to his community. He co-authored a manual for magisterial judges and has updated it periodically. However, the Candidate presents no sufficient record of judicial opinions, legal briefs or scholarly writings to allow assessment of his ability to discharge the responsibilities of a Superior Court judge. He has had minimal experience before appellate courts and has not demonstrated a sense of the internal procedures and administrative issues that face a Superior Court judge. The Commission is unable to recommend his candidacy for Superior Court.

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Judge James M. DeLeon, Philadelphia County
Rating: Not Recommended (for Failure to Participate in Evaluation Process)

Christine L. Donohue, Allegheny County
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Candidate has distinguished herself as a practicing attorney with extensive civil trial and appellate court experience. She demonstrates a wealth of knowledge about the Superior Court and has served in a quasi-judicial role on the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline. The Candidate has been active in many professional organizations, notably the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners from 1990 to 1996, serving as its chair for two years. She also has extensive community involvement and has taught both professional and lay audiences. Her colleagues describe her as intelligent, conscientious and objective and credit her with having outstanding character. Her legal writings are well-reasoned, well-organized and demonstrate the legal ability to serve with distinction on the Superior Court. She is highly recommended by the Commission.

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Judge Ronald W. Folino, Allegheny County
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Candidate has been a member of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County since January 1994. While on the court, he has served in the family division and the civil division and has presided over a broad array of matters. The Candidate is highly regarded for his legal knowledge and intellect by the judges who serve with him on the bench and the lawyers who practice before him. The lawyers in Allegheny County have consistently given the Candidate the highest marks for impartiality, legal ability, diligence and temperament. He has an excellent reputation in the legal community for his calm demeanor, fairness, honesty, integrity and impartiality. He demonstrates a strong devotion to the law. He is hard working and has actively participated as a lecturer in various aspects of the law. His legal opinions are reasoned, thorough and well-written. He demonstrates a strong commitment to community service. He clearly possesses the requisite intellect, scholarship, character and integrity to serve with distinction on the Superior Court and the Commission highly recommends him for this position.

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Judge Anne E. Lazarus, Philadelphia County
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Candidate has served as a common pleas judge in Philadelphia County for 15 years, having first been elected to a 10-year term in November 1991. She was retained for a second 10-year term in 2001. Prior to serving as a judge, the Candidate served as a law clerk in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County while maintaining a solo private practice until she joined a law firm in 1990. She is intelligent, thoughtful, candid, and scholarly, and she demonstrates superior writing ability, knowledge of the law and exceptional judicial temperament. The Candidate has a record and reputation for excellent character and integrity and has demonstrated sound judgment in her professional life. She has a strong commitment to community and pro bono service and, in addition to her own exemplary service, has used her elected office to encourage lawyers to participate in pro bono programs. The Commission concludes that the Candidate would bring commitment, enthusiasm, perspective, legal knowledge and experience to the Superior Court and would serve the office with distinction.

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Judge James Murray Lynn, Philadelphia County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate has served as a judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County since January 1992 and was retained in 2001. Prior to his service on the bench, he practiced law in Philadelphia for 28 years, including three years as an assistant district attorney. In his 15 years as a trial judge, he has been responsible for handling a wide variety of civil cases, including mass tort cases as well as family law and criminal matters. He is known for his calm and courteous attitude towards litigants appearing before him and their counsel. The Candidate's writing style is clear and concise and his opinions are generally viewed as appropriate. The Commission concludes the Candidate possesses the legal ability, experience, integrity and temperament to perform satisfactorily as a Superior Court judge and recommends his candidacy for that position.

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Timothy J. McCormick, Westmoreland County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate has been a legal practitioner since 1979. He has wide experience in criminal and civil matters preparing him to handle the full spectrum of cases that come before the Superior Court. He has a long history of pro bono service and volunteerism in his community. His peers consider him to be compassionate, courteous, patient, professional and committed to justice and fairness. The Commission finds him to have an appropriate judicial temperament. These qualities render him competent to fulfill the demanding responsibilities of a Superior Court judge and, therefore, the Commission recommends him for a position on the court

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Claude A. Lord "CAL" Shields, Schuylkill County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate serves as the director of the Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation at the Pennsylvania Department of State. While his career has included periods of private practice and administration of public agencies, his most significant professional achievement has been serving as district attorney of Schuylkill County for 16 years. He has considerable and successful experience as prosecutor at both the trial and appellate levels. He also served as president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association. His recent state government experience has allowed him to utilize his strong management and administrative skills in improving the agency's operations. The Candidate has a solid record of service in civic and professional organizations. Despite the lack of current written work, the Commission has concluded that the Candidate possesses the legal ability and work ethic necessary to recommend him for a position on the Superior Court.

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Jacqueline O. Shogan, Westmoreland County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate has practiced law since 1990. She has extensive experience in the area of health law and currently teaches a legal course on appellate practice. She served as a clerk and staff attorney in the federal district court for the western district of Pennsylvania. Since 2002, her practice has focused on complex civil litigation and appellate work. She demonstrates significant skills in articulating her positions and writes in a clear and well-organized fashion. She is known for her intelligence, diligence, work ethic and pro bono activities. She has a strong record of community involvement and is known for her devotion to public service and personal integrity. She has a keen interest in mediation and alternative dispute resolution. The Commission believes that the candidate possesses the requisite legal and intellectual ability to serve on the Superior Court.

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Templeton Smith Jr., Allegheny County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate has extensive experience in a wide variety of areas, including zoning, land use, commercial, health care and insurance defense litigation. The Candidate is recognized for his strong writing abilities, scholarly legal analysis and effective advocacy. He has taught continuing legal education courses and has been active in bar associations. In addition, he has provided pro bono support for community organizations and individuals. The Candidate has the requisite legal experience, intellectual ability, character and integrity to render him competent to fulfill the demanding responsibilities of a Superior Court judge and, therefore, the Commission recommends him for a position on the court.

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Judge John Milton Younge, Philadelphia County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate has served as a judge in the Court of Common Pleas of the First Judicial District in Pennsylvania since 1995, dealing with a heavy workload and a wide variety of cases, both civil and criminal. He has a demonstrated ability in dealing effectively and fairly with lawyers and litigants and has a real commitment to both the process and substance of justice. Prior to serving as a judge, the Candidate served as staff counsel to the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority and also had a solo practice. He appropriately describes himself as a career public servant. The Candidate has a solid track record of community involvement, as well as past service with the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, including service as its president. The Commission believes that the Candidate is competent and hard working, and he possesses the judicial skills and legal ability necessary to serve as a judge on the Superior Court.

Read the Candidate’s questionnaire.





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