PENNSYLVANIA BAR ASSOCIATION JUDICIAL EVALUATION COMMISSION 2007 SUPREME COURT CANDIDATE RATINGS

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Judge Willis W. Berry Jr., Philadelphia County
Rating: Not Recommended

The Candidate has served as a judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County since 1996. He has extensive experience in the Criminal Division. Prior to being elected to the bench, the Candidate practiced law in Philadelphia, focusing on criminal law. The Commission believes that while the Candidate has served well in Common Pleas Court, it cannot recommend him for election to the Supreme Court. This conclusion is based on the Candidate's lack of experience in areas of the law outside of criminal law, lack of administrative experience and lack of demonstrated community service. Further, he has not participated in bar-related functions, teaching, writing or his court's efforts to improve the justice system. For these reasons, the Commission has not recommended the Candidate for the Supreme Court.

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Judge C. Darnell Jones II, Philadelphia County
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Candidate is president judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County and has been a member of this court since 1987. Prior to serving as a judge, he was an attorney at the Defender Association of Philadelphia. His administrative qualities have been demonstrated through his service as chair of the Administrative Governing Board for the First Judicial District and his former service as chief of the family division of the Defender Association. The candidate has excellent writing skills and has authored more than 120 opinions. He has presided over hundreds of jury and bench trials. The Candidate is a nationally-recognized judicial expert in matters of criminal law. He enjoys the respect of his peers and an excellent reputation in the legal and social community. The Candidate is extremely hard working, intellectually curious and is a dedicated, dependable community servant. The Commission believes that the Candidate has the experience, temperament, intellectual ability, character, life experiences and integrity necessary for outstanding service as a Justice of the Supreme Court. He is highly recommended for this position.

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Judge Michael L. Krancer, Montgomery County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate currently serves on the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB), a statewide trial court for environmental litigation. He was appointed to that board as a judge in October 1999 and confirmed by the Senate and elevated to chief judge in 2003. In 2005, he was reappointed and again confirmed by the Senate. The Candidate was a litigator in Philadelphia from 1983 until his appointment to the EHB. The Candidate possesses an excellent work ethic; he is scholarly, thoughtful, hard working and passionate about the law. His opinions are complete and authoritative and have been well accepted by the appellate courts. He enjoys an excellent reputation and has been actively engaged for many years in public service and community involvement. The Commission believes that the Candidate's experience, demeanor and temperament, coupled with his intellect and work ethic, render him competent to fulfill the demanding responsibilities of a Supreme Court Justice.

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Judge Maureen Lally-Green, Butler County
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Candidate has served as a judge of the Superior Court since 1998, having been appointed in 1998 and elected to a 10-year term beginning in January 2000. The Candidate has a diverse legal background. She has been a professor at Duquesne University School of Law and she has practiced law in the areas of securities, business and corporations. She also has served as a research associate for the Supreme Court. She has written extensively on a wide-ranging set of topics and her writings are scholarly and thoughtful. The Candidate also has written a variety of opinions during her tenure on the Superior Court that are noteworthy for their organization and structure and her clear analysis of the issues and applicable precedent. Her opinions are well-reasoned and provide very helpful guidance on difficult issues. In addition, her judicial temperament and impartiality in decision-making are outstanding. She is known for her fairness, courtesy and respect for counsel who appear before the Superior Court. The Candidate also has an outstanding record of meaningful community service. The Commission believes that the Candidate would be an outstanding addition to the Supreme Court and highly recommends her.

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Judge Seamus P. McCaffery, Philadelphia County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate has a wide range of experiences in the Pennsylvania legal system. He has served in law enforcement and as a lawyer, municipal judge and now as a judge on the Superior Court. His unique background and work experience affords him a solid understanding and appreciation of the workings of the unified judiciary. This, combined with his service as administrative judge of the Philadelphia Municipal Court, makes him well suited to serve as a member of our highest court. The Candidate has demonstrated a life-long commitment to public service and is currently a Colonel in the United States Air Force (Res.) and Air Force liaison to the Department of Homeland Security. The Candidate offers a high level of energy and a strong work ethic. He is recognized for his strong personality and is an innovative and creative problem solver. He has great respect for the law, its institutions and traditions. He is committed to improving the public's understanding and respect for the legal system and the courts. The Commission believes that the Candidate has the requisite legal ability and skills necessary to serve as a Supreme Court Justice.

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Judge Paul P. Panepinto, Philadelphia County
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Candidate has been a member of the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia since 1990. He is knowledgeable and a good communicator and has an excellent reputation as a jurist. He couples that with extensive administrative experience. As administrative judge of the Family Court in Philadelphia for five years, he is credited with developing several innovative programs, including a truancy program that has become a national model. He also has exhibited substantial expertise in handling complex civil litigation. The Candidate exhibits energy, thoughtfulness and innovation in facilitating improvements to the administration of justice. He also demonstrates solid consensus-building skills. His extensive legal knowledge and good judicial temperament, combined with personal and administrative skills make him an outstanding candidate for the position of justice of the Supreme Court. He is highly recommended for this position.

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Judge Debra Todd, Allegheny County
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Candidate has served on the Pennsylvania Superior Court since her election in 1999. On the court, she is known for her passion for the law, her academic approach to decision making and her thoughtful, thorough scholarly opinions. She brings a breadth of experience from an active civil litigation practice, which has been expanded because a majority of her time on the court is devoted to criminal matters. She has continued her involvement in a variety of community service endeavors, especially those dealing with young people. She has a strong commitment to the law and to the improvement of the court system, both of which have helped instill public awareness of and confidence in the judiciary. The Commission believes the Candidate has the intellectual ability, personal integrity, strong sense of fairness, and diverse practical and academic experience to serve with distinction on the highest court. She is highly recommended for this position.

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