PBA Judicial Evaluation Commission Releases Second Round of 2013 Judicial Ratings

HARRISBURG (March 28, 2013) - The Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Commission (PBA JEC) today released its second round of ratings for potential judicial candidates seeking election to the state's appellate courts in November. In the 2013 election, voters will be filling one seat on the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Each candidate requesting an evaluation by the PBA JEC is eligible to receive a rating of "Highly Recommended," "Recommended" or "Not Recommended."

The PBA JEC's rating completed during the second round of evaluations is as follows:

Superior Court of Pennsylvania -
Judge John T. McVay Jr., Allegheny County

The PBA JEC's ratings completed during the first round of evaluations issued in early February are as follows:

Superior Court of Pennsylvania -
Highly Recommended
Judge Edward G. Smith, Northampton County

Victor P. Stabile, Dauphin County
Joseph C. Waters Jr., Philadelphia County

"The information issued by the PBA JEC helps voters select candidates best suited to serve as fair, impartial and knowledgeable appellate court judges," said Erie County lawyer Steven E. (Tim) Riley Jr., chair of the PBA JEC. "By its own definitions, the PBA JEC only recommends potential candidates with the legal ability, experience, integrity and temperament to provide satisfactory or outstanding performance as judges on the benches of our appellate courts."

The PBA JEC based its ratings for each candidate on a two-part evaluation process. Investigative panels conducted the first phase of the process, which included personal interviews with the candidates and with individuals who have had professional or personal dealings with them. Upon completion of the investigative process, the panels submitted confidential reports to the Commission.

Upon receipt and review of the investigative panel's report, the commission conducted the second phase of the evaluation process. The commission interviewed each candidate in Harrisburg, discussed his or her qualifications and reached consensus on each candidate's rating.

Serving with Riley in the leadership of the PBA JEC is Montgomery County lawyer Robert F. Morris as vice chair and Allegheny County lawyer Chris F. Gillotti as immediate past chair. Lawyer members include A. Harold Datz of Philadelphia County; Richard A. Estacio of Philadelphia County; Nancy Lauffer Heilman of Allegheny County; Sharon R. Lopez of Lancaster County; Heidi B. Masano of Berks County; Pamela J. Mayer of Cambria County; C. Edward S. Mitchell of Lycoming County; Kimberly Moses of Allegheny County; Kathryn Lease Simpson of Dauphin County; and Lorrie Elylice Whitfield of Monroe County. Non-lawyer members are Denice Ferranti-Robinson of Fayette County; Ernest F. Salvino of Centre County; Susan Sherman of Philadelphia County; John D. Unangst of Delaware County; Diane Wakefield of Beaver County; and Matthew Woessner of Dauphin County.


Highly Recommended: The candidate possesses the highest combination of legal ability, experience, integrity and temperament and would be capable of outstanding performance as a judge or justice of the court for which he/she is a candidate.

Recommended: Based on legal ability, experience, integrity and temperament, the candidate would be able to perform satisfactorily as a judge or justice of the court for which he/she is a candidate.

Not Recommended: Based on legal ability, experience, integrity or temperament, or any combination thereof, at the present time, the candidate is inadequate to perform satisfactorily as a judge or justice of the court for which he/she is a candidate.

Judge John T. McVay Jr.
Rating: Recommended

The Candidate has served as a judge on the Allegheny Court of Common Pleas since 2007, where he has been assigned to the Family Division. His caseload consists of juvenile dependency, delinquency and adult cases. The Candidate previously served in Allegheny County as assistant county solicitor, counsel for the Housing Authority and assistant Pittsburgh city solicitor, while maintaining a part-time law practice. He is regarded as having outstanding legal ability in his current position. He is recognized for his diligence, excellent temperament and willingness to employ unique solutions in matters that come before him. While the Candidate has limited experience before the appellate courts, the Commission found that he has the legal ability, experience, integrity and judicial temperament to perform satisfactorily on the Superior Court and recommends his candidacy.

Read the Candidate's questionnaire.

Founded in 1895, the Pennsylvania Bar Association exists to promote justice, professional excellence and respect of the law; improve public understanding of the legal system; facilitate access to legal services; and serve the 28,000 lawyers who are members of the association.