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PBA President Pays Tribute to Former Chief Justice Cappy

HARRISBURG (May 3, 2009) - Pennsylvania Bar President C. Dale McClain today issued the following statement on the passing of retired Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy:

"The Pennsylvania legal community has lost one of its shining stars with the passing of former Chief Justice Ralph J. Cappy. Chief Justice Cappy was an energetic, dynamic leader whose efforts led to extensive improvements in the Pennsylvania justice system for the benefit of our citizens. His passion for the law, his intellectual ability, his leadership and his sense of duty to the commonwealth, the justice system and the legal profession long will remain with those of us who had the privilege of knowing him.

Under his leadership, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court took significant steps to eliminate bias and discrimination or any form of unfairness throughout the Pennsylvania court system and the state government. One of the accomplishments for which he should be remembered was his establishment of the Interbranch Commission for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness.

Chief Justice Cappy elevated the relationship between the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the organized bar to a level of mutual respect and cooperation. He responded to numerous requests from the Pennsylvania Bar Association for assistance on matters such as lawyer advertising and professionalism. We appreciated his efforts to reach out to Pennsylvania's lawyers to help us better serve our profession and the public. He was the ninth recipient of the Pennsylvania Bar Medal in the 115-year history of the Pennsylvania Bar Association.

Chief Justice Cappy was an advocate for openness, accountability and efficiency in government. During his tenure as Chief Justice, the Supreme Court reached its goal of creating a statewide database for court records. Pennsylvania is now known as a national leader in statewide court automation. The state appellate courts, the magisterial district courts and the criminal dockets of every common pleas court in the commonwealth are now online at a central Web address. Information on any case in the system is available to anyone with a few keystrokes on a computer. This Web site is tremendously valuable not only to the public, but also to the legal profession and to law enforcement agencies.

On behalf of the 29,000 members of the Pennsylvania Bar Association, I extend our deepest sympathy to Janet Cappy and the entire Cappy family on the untimely passing of this distinguished jurist, lawyer and citizen who dedicated his life to the public good."