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County of Lehigh Court of Common Pleas Judge 10 Year Term Choose 3

Court of Common Pleas Judge

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Tom Caffrey (Dem, Rep)

Attorney

Biographical Information

D.O.B (Year) 1961
Education Allentown Central Catholic High School (1979); The Pennsylvania State University (BA History 1983); The Dickinson School of Law (JD 1986)
Qualifications I have extensive courtroom experience. I served in a judicial capacity as the Juvenile Master. I prosecuted felony criminal cases as an Asst. District Attorney. And I have litigated a wide variety of civil cases in both state and federal court.

What is the most important quality in a judge?

A judge must possess several different and equally important qualities. A judge must be able to maintain an open mind and decide cases based on the law and facts, and not his or her political or personal views. A judge must possess the academic ability and experience to handle complex legal matters, while also possessing the common sense and temperament required to deal with the wide variety of issues that arise on a daily basis. A judge must be willing to make tough decisions, without regard to whether they may or may not be popular. And a judge must be willing to hold people accountable for their actions, without regard to who they are, what they do for a living, or their status in life.

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Tom Capehart (Dem, Rep)

Attorney & Partner, Gross-McGinley, LLP

Biographical Information

D.O.B (Year) 1964
Education University of Akron School of Law, 1989; Dickinson College, 1986; Emmaus H.S., 1982
Qualifications Rated HIGHLY QUALIFIED by Lehigh County Bar Association. Heard and decided cases as court-appointed arbitrator. Attorney with 30+ years of vast legal experience. Highest ethical rating from national peer review. Decades of community involvement.

What is the most important quality in a judge?

There are two main qualities: the first is impartial adherence to the law. Judges must apply the law to the facts of each case regardless of personal or political opinion and render a reasoned and fair decision. Over my 30 years in the law, I have treated all parties with respect, and will do the same as a judge to afford impartial hearings for all who come before the bench. The second is experience: we deserve a fully qualified Judge. As an attorney, I have more than 30 years experience in the civil law that makes up approx. 60% of the court's caseload; this would allow me to make an immediate impact, especially in reducing significant backlogs caused by COVID. I have also heard and decided upon cases as a court-appointed arbitrator.

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Zachary Cohen (Dem, Rep)

Attorney

Biographical Information

Campaign Website http://cohen4judge.com
D.O.B (Year) 1977
Education University of Vermont: BA in Philosophy and English. Lewis and Clark Law Schoo: Juris Doctor
Qualifications Native Allentownian. Partner at law practice and trial lawyer for 18 years. Judicial Clerk for Hon. Robert Freedberg. Past President of Bar Association of Lehigh County. Rated Exceptionally Well Qualified and Highly Recommended by Bar Association

What is the most important quality in a judge?

Open-mindedness: “Equal Justice Under Law” is inscribed on the façade of the Supreme Court of the United States and it embodies my attitude towards the law. Everybody—no matter your socio-economic status, color, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, etc.—deserves fair treatment from our courts and an impartial judge who will listen with an open mind and without bias, and who upholds our laws and constitutional protections for the betterment of our community. The courthouse should be a place where people have hope—a place where wrongs can be righted—a place where people’s lives can be transformed for the better and our community protected.

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Eman H Jarrah (Dem, Rep)

Deputy County Solicitor

Biographical Information

D.O.B (Year) 1975
Education L.E. Dieruff High School; B.S. Chemistry Moravian College; J.D. University of Dayton School of Law
Qualifications 21 years of legal experience; 14 years as Deputy County Solicitor counseling numerous offices of county government; highly experienced in Orphans' Court matters having handled hundreds of cases in the fight against abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

What is the most important quality in a judge?

It is my belief that a good judge embodies a strong understanding of legal principles combined with the temperament to remain level-headed and unbiased. There are few things more fundamental than a fair legal system and that requires a judge who has a reputation for integrity and moral courage. A judge who demonstrates a high ethical standard is a benefit to this community.

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Patricia Fuentes Mulqueen (Dem, Rep)

Chief Deputy District Attorney

Biographical Information

D.O.B (Year) 1963
Education Chaminade University of Honolulu, B.A., Pol. Sci., 1993 Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 1998 Trinity College, Cambridge, England (Summer, '96)
Qualifications Chief Deputy District Attorney in Charge of Violent Crimes, Northampton County; Former Asst. District Attorney, Lehigh County; Former Asst. Public Defender, Cochise County, AZ; Adjunct Professor and Guest Lecturer in the U.S. and Europe

What is the most important quality in a judge?

The most important quality in a judge is impartiality to ensure “equal justice for all.” It is fundamental to our system of justice that everyone who comes before a judge knows that he or she will be heard without bias or prejudice. A judge should have the ability to set aside her own personal beliefs so that she can view the evidence and hear testimony with nothing to distract her from discerning the truth and determining the best course of action. In addition, a judge should have breadth of experience in the courtroom and in life. She should have extensive experience with jury and bench trials. This experience provides a sound knowledge of the rules of evidence and rules of procedure, which is necessary to being an effective judge.

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David Ritter (Dem, Rep)

Attorney

Biographical Information

D.O.B (Year) 1971
Education B.A. The Pennsylvania State University 1993, J.D. Widener University School of Law 1996
Qualifications Assistant Public Defender Lehigh County 1997-2001, Deputy District Attorney Lehigh County 2002-2009, Conflict Attorney Lehigh County 2010-2013, Assistant Public Defender (Part-Time) Lehigh County 2014-Present, Arbitrator Lehigh County 2010-Present

What is the most important quality in a judge?

Integrity is the most important quality in a Judge. During my twenty-four year career as a trial attorney, I have developed a reputation for being an attorney who will vigorously advocate for my client, but always stay within ethical boundaries. A Judge must likewise uphold the highest ethical standards. Citizens need to know that their Judges will apply the law that is given to them and do so in an honest, forthright manner. That is my pledge to our citizens: I will continue to be a person of character and integrity if I am so fortunate as to be elected as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County.

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Carlos Rodriguez (Dem, Rep)

Attorney

Biographical Information

Campaign Website http://rodriguezforjudge.com
D.O.B (Year) 1975
Education Bachelor's Degree from Penn State University and Juris Doctor's Degree from Duquesne University School of Law.
Qualifications Former Assistant District Attorney and Assistant Public Defender, and over twenty (20) years of experience working as a lawyer litigating hundreds of cases.

What is the most important quality in a judge?

A judge should be humble, compassionate and impartial regardless of the person's background and socioeconomic status.

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Rashid Santiago (Dem, Rep)

Magisterial District Judge

Biographical Information

D.O.B (Year) 1984
Education William Allen High School, 1999; George School, 2003; Gwynedd Mercy College, B.S., 2007; Widener University School of Law, J.D., 2010.
Qualifications As a Magisterial District Judge, I have presided over thousands of cases including criminal, civil, traffic, truancy, and landlord-tenant. I previously served as a law clerk to a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas. I have been an attorney since 2010.

What is the most important quality in a judge?

Judicial temperament. According to the American Bar Association, judicial temperament consists of a candidate’s ability to display “compassion, decisiveness, open-mindedness, sensitivity, courtesy, patience, freedom from bias and commitment to equal justice.” As an elected judge since 2014, I have had the privilege to be able to demonstrate the aforementioned qualities in a courtroom on a daily basis. Thus, I am confident that it will be a seamless transition for me to demonstrate the same judicial temperament as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.

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Maraleen Shields (Dem, Rep)

Shareholder Attorney at Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba, PC

Biographical Information

D.O.B (Year) 1978
Education Kenyon College, BA, 2000 University of Pittsburgh School of Law, JD, 2003 (Magna Cum Laude, Order of the Coif, University of Pittsburgh Law Review)
Qualifications For nearly two decades, Maraleen has represented healthcare workers, the injured, union workers, and tax payers in civil litigation matters. She has served as arbitrator & guardian ad litem. The Bar Association has “Highly Recommended” her for judge.

What is the most important quality in a judge?

A judge must have a combination of strong critical thinking skills and practical courtroom experience. A judge must also be free of bias and have the temperament to treat everyone with a baseline level of decency and respect. Communication is essential to ensuring equal access to justice. Communication is not only about the ability to be heard and understood, but also the ability to hear and understand others. A judge must be willing to meet people where they are without regard to their background. A judge’s responsibility is to ensure that the courtroom is open and equitable. Maraleen has each of these important qualities and is committed to advancing the core principles of equal justice under the law.