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Court of Common Pleas Judge 1st Judicial District (Philadelphia County)

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  • DEBORAH CANTY (Dem)

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    DEBORAH CIANFRANI (Dem) Attorney

  • LUCRETIA C CLEMONS (Dem)

  • MARK B COHEN (Dem)

  • Vincent Furlong

  • SHANESE JOHNSON (Dem)

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    STELLA TSAI (Dem) Judge

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Biographical Information

What is the most important quality in a judge?

Under what circumstances would you recuse or have you recused from a case?

As a member of the judiciary, what can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all Pennsylvanians have access to justice?

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Education Western New England College of Law Juris Doctorate, May 1990 Cornell College Bachelor of Arts, May 1987
Qualifications I have proudly served as a lawyer for 27 years. I started my legal career as a public defender, fighting for justice. After marrying my husband, who I met in court, I left the Public Defender's Office and worked as a solo practitioner. In 2008, I started my own law firm, where I currently practice as a civil litigator.
Municipality Philadelphia
A judge must always remember that the decisions she makes will greatly impact the lives of those who appear before her. It is a great power that must be balanced by compassion and humility.
If I should have a personal or business relationship with any of the parties or lawyers in a case, I would certainly recuse myself due to the potential conflict of interest. As far as the subject matter of a particular case, I would not recuse myself as I fully understand that my own personal beliefs must not influence how I will apply the law. Everyone will receive an equal and fair trial in my courtroom.
As I have demonstrated in my legal career, donating my services to those who cannot afford a lawyer is very important to ensure that access to our legal system is not only for those who can afford to hire a lawyer. I have provided numerous hours of pro bono services to individuals and communities. I plan to continue this as a judge. I have already begun reaching out to community groups to schedule educational seminars on legal issues.
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Campaign Phone (215) 279-9348
Education University of Pennsylvania Law School, J.D., 1988; The Pennsylvania State University, B.A. with honors and distinction, 1985.
Qualifications Gov. Tom Wolf nominated Judge Tsai to fill a vacancy on the Court of Common Pleas in 2016 and she is now running for election in her own right. Judge Tsai was a distinguished Philadelphia business litigator who represented fpr 28 years individuals, non-profits and businesses large and small, Ms. Tsai has been widely recognized for her professional excellence, community involvement, and ethical character.
Twitter @Stellamingu
Municipality The City of Philadelphia
The most important quality in a judge is to understand that knowledge of truth is not intrinsic, but something that must be pursued. The pursuit of justice requires a judge to, among other things, keep an open mind, be aware of his or her own biases, know the law, and act with humility.
I seek guidance from the Judicial Code of Conduct to address potential conflicts of interest. Under the Code, I am not permitted to handle cases about which I have personal knowledge of the facts, a bias with respect to a particular party, a financial interest, or prior involvement as a lawyer. By way of example, I have recused myself on my own motion from cases where defendants who allegedly caused damage to property managed by the School District of Philadelphia, my husband's employer.
On the bench, we are required to ensure the fair administration of justice and enforcement of the law. We need to deploy resources and use our authority to ensure that justice is the same for all, regardless of status or capacity or language proficiency. As judges, we are encouraged to engage in outside activities that promote the fair administration of justice, as long as they do not compromise judicial independence or impartiality.

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