Allegheny County Bar Association Announces Judiciary Ratings For Candidates Running in May 17 Primary

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – April 6, 2011. 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 17 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, or the PA Superior Court.

In the 2011 Pennsylvania Primary Elections, voters will be selecting candidates for the following judicial positions: One (1) judge on the PA Superior Court; one (1) judge on the PA Commonwealth Court; and two (2) judges on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

According to Gary Hunt, President of the Allegheny County Bar Association, “The twenty four members of our Judiciary Committee spent many hours interviewing and evaluating candidates in several important areas, including temperament, experience in the field of law, academic achievement, integrity, and community involvement. 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:


Superior Court of Pennsylvania

Hon. David N. Wecht   Highly Recommended

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

Barbara Behrend Ernsberger   Unqualified

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

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas

Alexander P. Bicket   Highly Recommended
Daniel Konieczka   Highly Recommended
Eleanor Bush   Recommended
Hon. Michael Marmo   Recommended
Leah Williams Duncan   Not Recommended
at this time
Carmen L. Robinson   Not Recommended
at this time
Jennifer Satler   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 Allegheny County Bar Association Judiciary Committee is a non-partisan committee of 24 attorneys who have been elected at large by the 6,500-member bar association.

Explanation of Ratings:

Highly Recommended

The candidate:

a.   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.

b.  Possesses the highest reputation for integrity and temperament.

c.   Exhibits outstanding citizenship by way of community and professional contributions.

d.  Is an exceptional individual who will enhance or has enhanced the competence, dignity and public perception of the bench.


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.


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

Gary P. Hunt
Allegheny County Bar Association

Tom Loftus
Allegheny County Bar Association

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, magisterial district judges, legal administrators and paralegals.