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    Barbara W. Pianka (Dem, Rep) Magisterial District Judge 12-1-02

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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 Certified by the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts before taking office and annually attends continuing education classes at the Pennsylvania Judicial Center to stay current with state and local laws.
Qualifications 12 years of experience presiding over District Court 12-1-02 with clean local and state financial and procedural audits.
Municipality Harrisburg
Impartiality: The most important quality, and the most challenging task, of a good judge, is the ability to set aside personal views and rule in a fair and impartial manner based only on the evidence presented. What distinguishes the best judge from all the others is a dedication to combining their life experiences into an expanding view of the human condition rather than to narrow their vision by placing people into stereotypical categories. Achieving this quality results in impartiality.
Rule 2.11 under the Code of Judicial Conduct dictates when a judge should ask for recusal. I recuse myself if I am uncomfortable hearing a case or if I think my “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” As a judge, I have the option of disclosing to both parties any information that they may deem to consider relevant to a recusal. The parties then discuss it among themselves, without me present, and decide if the case should move forward with me presiding.
It is my duty to ensure fairness, promote accessibility, & increase the efficiency in the court. I ensure access by suggesting programs that are available through Legal Aid, Pre-trial Services, Neighborhood Dispute, the YWCA & Veterans Court. I participate in a Night Court system that deals with issues after hours. A federal program offers access to translators for every person. I also attend courses that train judges to recognize autism and mental health disorders. My goal is justice for all. logo


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