PENNSYLVANIA BAR ASSOCIATION JUDICIAL EVALUATION COMMISSION 2007 SUPERIOR COURT CANDIDATE RATINGS

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

RATINGS OF RETENTION CANDIDATES

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.

Read the Candidate's questionnaire.

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.

Read the Candidate's questionnaire.

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.

Read the Candidate's questionnaire.

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.

Read the Candidate's questionnaire.

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.

Read the Candidate's questionnaire.

Jackie 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.

Read the Candidate’s questionnaire.

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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