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Pennsylvania Bar Association to Survey Judicial Candidates In Luzerne County

HARRISBURG, PA (April 21, 2009) - The Pennsylvania Bar Association is contacting all judicial candidates for the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas requesting their completion of a questionnaire gathering biographical information. The completed questionnaires will be posted on a Web site, http://www.pavotesmart.com, which can be easily accessed by Luzerne County residents.

"The criminal acts of former Judge Mark A. Ciavarella and former Judge Michael T. Conahan have greatly heightened the public's interest in Luzerne County's judicial system," said C. Dale McClain, president, Pennsylvania Bar Association. "Residents have directly expressed interest in more information about the Luzerne County courts, including information about the candidates seeking to secure positions on the bench during the upcoming elections."

McClain said that the Wilkes-Barre Law and Library Association would like to provide information to the public about the candidates but believes it is unable to do so because of its 501(c)3 nonprofit status. The Pennsylvania Bar Association is able to gather such information because it operates as a 501(c)6.

"Local bar leaders have asked the Pennsylvania Bar Association to assist them with the collection of such information, and we are pleased to do so. Gathering and disseminating background information about judicial candidates is not new for the Pennsylvania Bar Association. For many years, our association has issued news releases and posted information online about candidates seeking positions on the state's appellate courts," said McClain.

Should a candidate not return a questionnaire, a notation will be made on the www.pavotesmart.com Web site that the "Candidate did not return a questionnaire." The Pennsylvania Bar Association expects to post the questionnaires on the Web site in early May.

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 29,000 lawyers who are members of the association.