2019 Superior Court of Pennsylvania

Catherine Marie “Kate” Harper
Rating: Recommended

The candidate served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 2000 through 2018. While in the Legislature, she served on the House Judiciary Committee. The candidate drafted legislation to extend the mandatory judicial retirement age to 75. Throughout her service in the House of Representatives, she maintained an active legal practice focusing on municipal, personal injury, criminal defense and domestic relations cases. Later, she concentrated on commercial and real estate litigation. During the course of her legal career, she has appeared before all levels of the state and federal court system. The candidate has presented oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. She has earned a reputation for being well prepared, even tempered, industrious and compassionate, and, for these reasons, the commission recommends her candidacy for the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

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Amanda Green-Hawkins
Rating: Not Recommended

The candidate has been an attorney for the United Steel Workers (USW) since 2002. Prior to working at the USW, she served as a law clerk for Judge Laurence Lawson on the Superior Court of New Jersey. At the USW, the candidate has served as an assistant counsel and, most recently, as director of the Civil and Human Rights Division, where she has been charged with providing advice and counsel, overseeing training and compliance, and developing policy. She has successfully argued cases in both federal district and appellate courts. Her peers, mentors and supervisors credit the candidate with having a strong work ethic. The candidate supports underserved communities, acts with integrity and displays an appropriate demeanor. However, the commission finds the candidate has not had the experience and preparation necessary to take on the role of judge on the Pennsylvania Superior Court and, therefore, does not recommend her candidacy at this time.

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Ryan H. James
Rating: Not Recommended

The candidate has been a practicing lawyer since 2012. He worked as an associate for three months following graduation from law school. Thereafter, he opened his own law office where he currently is a sole practitioner. He initially maintained a general practice firm. His practice transformed to focus on private criminal defense and appeals with occasional civil trial work. He has no judicial clerkship experience. Although he has written appellate briefs, his appellate advocacy experience is not extensive. The writing samples submitted were an acceptable work product but not particularly scholarly. Although known for his good temperament and diligent work ethic, the commission finds the candidate has not had the breadth or depth of experience necessary to take on the role of judge on the Pennsylvania Superior Court and, therefore, does not recommend his candidacy at this time.

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Megan L. King
Rating: Recommended

The candidate began her legal career in 1996 with the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office where she focused on cases involving child abuse. The candidate then clerked for Justice Thomas Saylor of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court from 1999 to 2001. In 2012, the candidate returned to the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office where she was integral in leading the Elder Abuse Unit and in maintaining duties in the Child Abuse Unit. In 2015, the candidate began working as the deputy district attorney in the Child Abuse Unit in Chester County. The candidate has extensive criminal trial experience. She is described by attorneys and judges as intelligent, articulate, fair, well prepared and diligent. In addition to her legal experience, she is involved in several charitable organizations. The commission finds that the candidate possesses the legal ability, experience, integrity and judicial temperament to perform satisfactorily as a judge of the Superior Court and recommends her candidacy.

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Judge Timika R. Lane
Rating: Highly Recommended

The candidate was elected to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas in 2013 and presides over criminal matters. Prior to her tenure on the court, in 2003, she accepted a position in private practice representing clients in family law matters while also representing indigent families as a certified child advocate. Thereafter, she worked in the Public Defender’s Office as a major trial attorney from 2004 to 2009. In November 2009, she was named as chief counsel and minority executive director of the State Government Committee for a Pennsylvania state senator. The candidate’s writing has been described as well-reasoned, clear and concise. Her colleagues describe her as fair, even handed, highly ethical, hardworking and knowledgeable. She demonstrates a commitment to public service and has extensive community involvement. Due to her background, attributes and experience, the commission is confident the candidate would serve with distinction as a Superior Court judge and highly recommends her candidacy.

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Judge Daniel D. McCaffery
Rating: Highly Recommended

The candidate is an experienced jurist known for his high degree of professionalism and good judicial temperament. He is engaging, sincere, intelligent and affable with an admirable work ethic. His legal career has taken several paths. He served as an assistant district attorney for five years and then was in private practice for 16 years. The candidate has served as a common pleas court judge since 2014. He has a sound knowledge of legal principles, with his opinions and legal writings being well-reasoned. He also has extensive community involvement, including volunteering as a coach for the past 20 years. Because of his broad experience as a practicing attorney, proven record of judicial leadership, high ethical standards and dedication to the legal profession, the commission is confident that the candidate would serve with distinction as a Superior Court judge and highly recommends his candidacy.

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Judge Christylee L. Peck
Rating: Recommended

The candidate has practiced law since 2001, first serving as an associate in private practice with civil trial litigation and business law duties and then as an assistant district attorney in Lancaster County in the Child Abuse Unit. From 2005 until her election in 2011 to the Cumberland County Court of Common Pleas, she served as the senior district attorney in Cumberland County specializing in the prosecution of sex crimes, child abuse and other major crimes. The candidate has acquired a broad array of experience as a result of her duties as a prosecuting attorney and seven years on the bench. Her legal opinions are considered thorough, logical and well-reasoned. She is recognized as a hard worker, articulate and accomplished, as well as thoughtful, approachable and fair in her interactions with litigants and attorneys. The commission believes the candidate’s experience as a lawyer and as a judge will enable her to ably fulfill the responsibilities of a Superior Court judge and therefore recommends her candidacy.

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Elizabeth M. Tarasi
Rating: Not Recommended

The candidate began the practice of law in 1990 clerking for Judge William Standish of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. She joined her father’s firm, Tarasi and Tarasi PC in 1993. Since then, her legal career with the firm has resulted in a large body of trial work that demonstrates she has the requisite legal knowledge, ability and writing skills necessary to fill a seat on the Superior Court. The candidate has a record of active community involvement and initially appeared to possess the appropriate temperament and character for the judiciary. However, during her interview with the commission, it was revealed that she failed to exercise oversight of plagiarized content on her social media website. When questioned, she failed to accept full accountability for the matter, leaving the commission with concerns about her character and integrity. As a result, the commission does not recommend her candidacy for the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.

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Rebecca L. Warren
Rating: Not Recommended (for failure to participate)

The candidate appeared before the commission during a previous election cycle in which her candidacy was unsuccessful. In early January, the commission independently became aware of attorney Warren’s intention to run for Superior Court and subsequently invited her to participate in our ratings process. She initially accepted the invitation, but then advised the commission that she would not be running for office and there was no need to move forward with the ratings process. Most recently, the commission again independently became aware of her intent to move forward with her candidacy for the Superior Court. Because the candidate has not availed herself of the commission’s ratings process, we cannot recommend her candidacy for the Superior Court. 



 

 

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