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Allegheny County Bar Association’s Judiciary Ratings For Candidates Running in May 19th Primary


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – April 2, 2009. The Allegheny County Bar Association today announced that its Judiciary Committee has released its ratings for the following individuals running for a judgeship in the primary election on May 19th and who have requested a rating, have been interviewed by the Judiciary Committee, and who reside in Allegheny County or have an office in Allegheny County. These individuals are seeking a seat on the bench of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas, the PA Commonwealth Court, Pennsylvania Supreme Court or the Pennsylvania Superior Court. The bar association will continue to rate candidates through mid April. According to the bylaws of the Judiciary Committee, the Committee must rate all candidates running for the Court of Common Pleas, whether they have requested an interview and rating or not.

In the 2009 Pennsylvania Primary Elections, voters will be selecting candidates for the following judicial positions: One (1) PA Supreme Court Justice; three (3) judges on the PA Superior Court; two (2) judge for the PA Commonwealth Court; and five (5) judges on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

According to Jay Blechman, President of the Allegheny County Bar Association, “The bar association has the obligation to the citizens of Allegheny County to provide as much information as possible to help voters make informed choices when they select candidates for judicial office.”

The Committee has given the following ratings:


NameCourtRating

Supreme Court of Pennsylvania

Hon. Joan Orie Melvin

Supreme Court of PA

Highly Recommended


Superior Court of Pennsylvania

Kevin F. McCarthy

Superior Court of PA

Highly Recommended

Hon. Robert J. Colville

Superior Court of PA

Highly Recommended

Templeton Smith, Jr.

Superior Court of PA

Highly Recommended


Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

Daniel K. Bricmont

Commonwealth

Highly Recommended

Michael D. Sherman

Commonwealth

Highly Recommended

Alfonso Frioni, Jr.

Commonwealth

Recommended

Linda S. Judson

Commonwealth

Not Recommended
at this time

Barbara Behrend Ernsberger

Commonwealth

Unqualified


NOTE: Candidates running for judgeships for statewide courts are required to go before the Judicial Evaluation Committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association to be interviewed and rated. For the PBA ratings, go to pavotesmart.com.


Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Alexander P. Bicket

Court of Common Pleas

Highly Recommended

Philip A. Ignelzi

Court of Common Pleas

Highly Recommended

Hugh F. McGough

Court of Common Pleas

Highly Recommended

Hon. Joseph K.
Williams, III

Court of Common Pleas

Highly Recommended


Hon. Susan Evashavik DiLucente

Court of Common Pleas

Recommended

Arnold I. Klein

Court of Common Pleas

Recommended

Michael F. Marmo

Court of Common Pleas

Recommended

Michael S. Sherman

Court of Common Pleas

Recommended

Leahtines Williams-Duncan

Court of Common Pleas

Recommended


Hon. Carolyn Saldari Bengel

Court of Common Pleas

Not Recommended
at this time

Jeffrey K. Eisenberg

Court of Common Pleas

Not Recommended at this time

Donald Walko

Court of Common Pleas

Not Recommended at this time

Michelle Zappala Peck

Court of Common Pleas

Not Recommended at this time

 

Each candidate is evaluated in the areas of temperament, experience in the field of law, academic achievement, honesty and integrity, reputation, general community interest and contributions to the profession.

The 24-member Judiciary Committee is elected at large by the 6,500-member Bar Association.

Explanation of Ratings:

Highly Recommended
The candidate:

  1. Exhibits pre-eminence in the law by way of outstanding legal ability and a wide range of experience, either in a specialized field of law or a more varied practice, and has a reputation in the legal community as standing at the top of his or her profession.
  2. Possesses the highest reputation for integrity and temperament.
  3. Exhibits outstanding citizenship by way of community and professional contributions.
  4. Is an exceptional individual who will enhance or has enhanced the competence, dignity and public perception of the bench.

Recommended

The candidate possesses the highest reputation for integrity and the legal ability, experience and temperament to excel as a judge of the court for which he or she is a candidate.

Not recommended at this time

The candidate’s legal ability, experience and reputation indicate that, at some future time in his or her legal career, he or she may have the potential to excel as a judge, but the candidate is not yet at that stage.

Unqualified

The candidate does not now possess and is not likely to acquire the ability, reputation, or temperament necessary for a judicial position.

Contacts:
Nancy L. Heilman, Esquire
412-297-4900

Tom Loftus
Allegheny County Bar Association
412-402-6620

Chartered in 1870 and headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh, The Allegheny County Bar Association is a professional organization with more than 6,600 member attorneys, judges, district justices, legal administrators, and paralegals.

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