PENNSYLVANIA BAR ASSOCIATION JUDICIAL EVALUATION COMMISSION 2009 SUPERIOR COURT CANDIDATE RATINGS

RATING OF THE RETENTION CANDIDATE

Judge Kate Ford Elliott
Rating: Recommended for Retention

The Candidate has served with distinction as a Pennsylvania Superior Court judge since 1990. In that capacity, she has earned a reputation for a superior intellect, an extraordinarily high work ethic and admirable judicial knowledge. The Candidate’s merits as a jurist and administrator culminated in her election by her peers to the position of president judge of the Superior Court, a position in which she has served since January 2006. Notwithstanding her assumption of administrative responsibility for the court, her opinions continue to be consistently well-written, demonstrating thorough and impartial legal analysis of both the substantive and procedural issues. Her reputation for integrity and her judicial temperament are above reproach. Despite maintaining an extensive case load in a heavily overburdened court, the Candidate has demonstrated a long-term commitment to significant participation in legal education of both lawyers and judges and in numerous civic and law-related activities. Based upon her leadership, high integrity, outstanding scholarship, thoughtful understanding of the law and fair and even-handed approach, the Commission recommends that the Candidate be retained.

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RATINGS OF CANDIDATES FOR FOUR VACANCIES:

Judge Robert J. Colville, Allegheny County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate has served as a judge in the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County since 2000. Prior to becoming a judge, the candidate was in private practice and had served as a law clerk for Justice Ralph J. Cappy. Although he was elected to the bench at a relatively young age, he has clearly demonstrated sufficient legal ability and judicial temperament to have earned the respect of lawyers and other members of the bench. His work as the toxic substance case supervising judge highlights his administrative ability. The Candidate is extremely hard working and passionate about the improvement of the quality of justice. He enjoys and thoroughly understands his role as a judge. The Commission believes that the Candidate possesses the character, integrity, judicial temperament and skills to serve as a Superior Court judge.

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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 18 years. She was elected to a 10-year term in November 1991 and retained for a second term in 2001. For the past five years, she has served as an Orphan's Court judge. She previously served as a law clerk and practiced law in a solo practice and later with a large firm. The Candidate serves as chair of the Ethics Committee of the State Conference of Trial Judges and is called upon for advice on ethical questions by members of both the bench and bar. She has an impressive record of facilitating settlement in a large number of cases assigned to her. The Candidate is intelligent, thoughtful, candid and scholarly, and she demonstrates superior writing ability, knowledge of the law and exceptional judicial temperament. Her advocacy of pro bono service has encouraged lawyers to participate in these programs. The candidate has mentored law students and young lawyers and has served in many capacities in community organizations. The Commission concludes that the Candidate would bring exceptional skills, experience and personal qualities to the Superior Court and would serve the court and the commonwealth with distinction.

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Kevin F. McCarthy, Allegheny County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate has worked in the appellate unit of the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office since 1990. He has proven to be a superior appellate advocate. He has excellent writing skills. The Candidate is highly regarded by his colleagues in the practice of law and members of the courts before whom he has appeared. He is described by his peers as honest and honorable. The Candidate has taught college, law school and continuing legal education courses. He devotes time to charitable work through his church. He is scholarly, courteous and compassionate. The Commission recommends the Candidate for a position on the Superior Court based on his intellect, character and integrity.

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Sallie Updyke Mundy, Tioga County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate has had diverse legal experience in her twenty-one year legal career. She has handled a variety of civil litigation matters, including medical malpractice defense cases and plaintiff personal injury cases. Recently, the Candidate has served as a voluntary assistant public defender in Tioga County. She has served as a member and then chair of a hearing committee of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The Candidate is bright and articulate and is regarded by her peers as personable, hardworking and compassion. She is dedicated to the improvement of the quality of justice and her writings are clear and concise. The Commission recommends her for a position on the Superior Court. (Commission member Riley recused himself from participation in the evaluation and rating of this Candidate.)

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Judge Judith F. Olson, Allegheny County
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Candidate excelled academically in both college and law school. She was a skilled and successful litigator, with broad experience in both the trial and appellate courts. In October 2008, she was appointed to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas. She is regarded by her peers as intelligent, ethical, congenial and fair and has a well-rounded reputation for diligence and productivity. Her character and integrity are beyond reproach, and she brings energy and enthusiasm to a commitment for the improvement of justice. In addition, the Candidate is committed to extensive community service. The Commission highly recommends her for a seat on the Superior Court.

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Judge Paula Francisco Ott, Chester County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate is currently serving as president judge on the Chester County Court of Common Pleas and previously served as president of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges. She has extensive experience, both as a lawyer and a judge, in Orphan’s Court issues and is a member of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court Orphan’s Court Rules Committee. The Candidate has demonstrated significant administrative ability, having supervised the orderly transition into a new courthouse facility. She has been involved and recognized for her consistent efforts to educate the public about judicial independence. She is noted for her judicial temperament, organizational ability and intellect. Her written opinions reflect a structured and orderly thought process, and the Commission recommends her candidacy for Superior Court.

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Marakay J. Rogers, York County (for failure to participate)
Rating: Not Recommended

The Commission issued a “Not Recommended” rating to this candidate for failure to participate in the evaluation process.

Judge Teresa Sarmina, Philadelphia County
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Candidate currently serves as a judge on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. She was elected in 1997 and retained in 2007. She previously worked as a senior deputy attorney general with responsibility for drug, fraud, antitrust and charitable organization violations. She also worked for five years as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia, as a legislative aide to a congressman and as a social worker. Her recent experience as a trial judge has included major criminal cases. She writes with a clear and precise style, and her opinions are well-reasoned and seldom reversed. She has earned the respect of her colleagues on the bench and of the lawyers who have appeared before her. Her integrity and sound judicial temperament are unchallenged. The Commission concludes that the Candidate would bring exceptional skills, experience and commendable personal qualities to the Superior Court, and the Commission highly recommends her candidacy.

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Templeton Smith Jr., Allegheny County
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate has extensive experience as an appellate advocate and has appeared before the Superior Court on numerous occasions. His substantive legal experience covers a wide variety of areas, including zoning, land use, commercial, medical malpractice and tort 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 participated in bar association committees. In addition, he has provided pro bono support for church and community organizations. 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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