PENNSYLVANIA BAR ASSOCIATION JUDICIAL EVALUATION COMMISSION 2007 COMMONWEALTH COURT CANDIDATE RATINGS

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

RATINGS OF RETENTION CANDIDATES

Judge Bonnie B. Leadbetter, Montgomery County
Rating: Recommended for Retention

Judge Leadbetter has served as a judge of the Commonwealth Court since 1996, having been appointed that year and elected to a ten-year term beginning in 1997. Before serving on the bench, she was an assistant district attorney, assistant United States attorney, counsel to an insurance company, judge pro tempore of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, and in private practice. Judge Leadbetter is recognized for her high level of legal ability, sound judgment, courteous manner and appropriate judicial temperament. Her well-reasoned and well-written opinions reflect her thorough understanding of the facts and trial court record under review. The judge is very active in the legal community and participates frequently in continuing legal education programs for lawyers. Her integrity and personal character are beyond reproach. Her recent selection as president judge of the Commonwealth Court is testament to the respect, confidence and support her colleagues on the court have in her considerable abilities. The Commission finds Judge Leadbetter as clearly deserving of retention for another term as a member of the Commonwealth Court.

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Judge Bernard L. McGinley, Allegheny County
Rating: Recommended for Retention

Judge McGinley was elected to the Commonwealth Court in 1987 and was retained by the voters for a second term in 1997. Previously, he served as an assistant district attorney and as a judge of the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve Medical Corps in 1970 and achieved the rank of captain. He is uniformly praised for his judicial temperament, demeanor, fairness, intelligence and dedication to the law. Judge McGinley's written opinions address a broad spectrum of legal issues and are well reasoned and demonstrate a clear understanding of the facts and applicable law. He treats lawyers fairly and courteously and is held in the highest regard for his legal knowledge and analytical abilities. He has demonstrated the highest level of integrity in his personal and professional life. His work ethic, scholarship, excellent character and commitment to enhancing the quality of justice clearly warrant a recommendation for his retention as a member of the Commonwealth Court.

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Judge Doris Smith-Ribner, Philadelphia County
Rating: Recommended for Retention

Judge Doris Smith-Ribner has been a member of the Commonwealth Court since 1988. During her terms on the Commonwealth Court, Judge Smith-Ribner has earned a reputation as a dedicated, hard-working and diligent jurist possessing a scholarly mind and an even-handed approach to the administration of justice. She asks thoughtful questions during oral argument, is respectful of counsel during argument and is consistently well prepared and thorough in her analysis and treatment of the issues presented to her. Judge Smith-Ribner is known and respected for her keen understanding of legal principles and her thorough understanding of the rules of Commonwealth Court. She is an able and innovative administrator as evidenced by her development of a very successful Commonwealth Court mediation program and her service for 13 years on the Pennsylvania Judicial Auditing Agency, including as chairperson of the agency from 1999 to 2004. She also has an interest in the mentoring of new lawyers as evidenced by her development of a nationwide judicial externship/clerkship program that places students with federal and state court judges throughout the country. Judge Smith-Ribner is held in high esteem by her judicial colleagues and the court's staff. Her character and integrity are of the utmost quality, and she is devoted to deciding the issues presented to her court quickly and efficiently. Judge Smith-Ribner has earned the Commission's recommendation for retention on the Commonwealth Court.

Read the Candidate's questionnaire.