PENNSYLVANIA BAR ASSOCIATION JUDICIAL EVALUATION COMMISSION 2009 SUPREME COURT CANDIDATE RATINGS

RATINGS OF CANDIDATES FOR ONE VACANCY

Judge Joan Orie Melvin, Allegheny County
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Candidate was elected to the Superior Court in 1997 and was retained by the voters for a second term in 2007. She previously served seven years as a judge on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and five years as chief magistrate of the Pittsburgh Municipal Court, where she is credited for establishing the first Domestic Violence Court in Pennsylvania. She also worked for two years on a corporate legal staff and two years in private practice in Pittsburgh. Her diligence, organizational skills and strong work ethic have served her well in handling the heavy caseload of the Superior Court. Her written opinions are cogent and well reasoned. The Candidate has an impressive record of involvement in professional activities and community service, including her recent development of a program for high school students about the legal consequences of Internet usage. She is recognized as genial and fair minded, and she has demonstrated sound judicial temperament. She is respected by her colleagues on the Superior Court, the lawyers who have appeared before her and those who have worked with her in the community. Based on her solid record of performance, the Commission concludes that the Candidate is deserving of its highest rating.

Read the Candidate's questionnaire.

Judge Jack A. Panella, Northampton County
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Candidate currently serves as a judge of the Superior Court, having been elected in November 2003. He previously served more than 12 years as a common pleas judge in Northampton County, and before that was a practicing attorney and county solicitor. He has served as a judge and President Judge of the Court of Judicial Discipline, where charges against judicial officers are heard, and as chair of the Judicial Conduct Board, which investigates claims of ethical misconduct against Pennsylvania judges and brings charges in meritorious cases. His service on the Commission for Justice Initiatives in Pennsylvania exemplifies his commitment to the improvement of the quality of justice. He is the principal author of an important bench book for Pennsylvania trial judges about crimes of sexual violence. His written opinions are crafted with clarity and precision. During his time on the bench, he has shown both sound judicial temperament and exceptional administrative ability. The Commission believes the Candidate possesses a rare combination of intellect, energy and skills that qualify him as highly recommended to ascend to the Supreme Court.

Read the Candidate's questionnaire.