Recommended by the Philadelphia Bar Association
Recommended by the Philadelphia Bar Association
As a Judicial Candidate, I will not solicit campaign contributions during my campaign for Judge. For a Judge to do his job properly, the public must have confidence that he will be impartial and unbiased. A political system that requires Judicial Candidates to raise money from people who might appear before them in court could create the appearance of a conflict of interest. As a Judge, I do not want any decision I make called into question because of a political contribution.
I will conduct regular set hours from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. The general public should feel confident that during all regular working hours, I will be at Court doing the people’s work that I was elected to do.
I will not discuss any aspect of any case with anyone unless it is in the courtroom with a prosecutor and defense attorney present. It is improper for a Judge to have private conversations with a defendant or a prosecutor about an upcoming or ongoing case.
I will require all official documents to be filed via email, so there is a transparent, verifiable, time stamped trail of all official correspondence. Transparency and accountability are key to making sure court proceedings are fair and unbiased. Communications via email leave an accessible “paper trail” to prove who filed what when.
I know jail isn’t always the answer. Philadelphia courts deal with a lot of cases, and sometimes the system hands out cookie-cutter justice. As an attorney, however, I have seen the difference a good judge can make in someone’s life. That’s why I pledge to invest in individuals and communities by requiring probationers to do community service or maintain full-time occupations—whether as an employee, a student, or a homemaker. I believe in the power of follow-through and know that the criminal justice system can turn lives around when judges invest the time and energy to treat each person before the court as an individual.
I will set up Open Court hours two days a week before regular court sessions for probationers, defense counsel and prosecutors to directly address the judge with concerns. I will make a commitment to each person I sentence to personally help address issues that may arise in a timely manner – and will work with anyone in the system willing to work with me to get back onto the right track. Individuals appearing in front of the court should feel a vested interest from their judges and know that we are here to help.
I will dedicate time to partner with various organizations to educate the public on criminal justice issues. It is important to me that young people in our community understand how the criminal justice system works. I am committed to dedicating time each year to speaking to young people about issues of justice. In a city with a 27% poverty rate with 40% of our children living in poverty, it is vital that all members of the community are educated about the criminal justice system and how it works.
I will commit to participating in volunteer community service work for 2 weeks each year. In Pennsylvania, Judges receive 5 weeks of paid vacation, even though the length of paid vacation time for the average American is just 12 days (less than two weeks). I will spend two weeks of my paid vacation performing full time community service work for a volunteer organization in Philadelphia.
I will treat all people with respect and dignity regardless of age, race, sex, ethnicity, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, or disability. I am committed to fostering an environment in my courtroom where everyone will feel like they are getting a fair deal. As a victim of a gunpoint robbery, I know how challenging it can be to take the stand to testify. My staff and I will do our best to make sure everyone is comfortable and well treated.
I have countless hours of actual courtroom experience. Many lawyers never step foot inside a courtroom. But I have built a career out of helping people navigate their way through the judicial system. As a founding partner of one of the busiest criminal litigation firms in Philadelphia, I have served as lead counsel on approximately 1,600 cases. Additionally, I have served as a court certified panelist for many civil arbitrations.
I have a range of experiences in complex cases beyond trial court. I have extensive writing experience before appellate courts. Sometimes lower level courts get it wrong. As an experienced appellate attorney I have written many appeals on a variety of issues from criminal court. I have also written extremely complex appeals for civil issues on million dollar cases. Lastly, I have worked behind the scenes as a law clerk for two Judges where I drafted opinions to uphold their appealed decisions in Superior Court.
I am proud of my work developing and implementing plans to improve Philadelphia’s Judicial System. In the past I have put in many long hours developing a multimillion dollar proposal to help the city improve indigent defense, streamlining the process and saving the taxpayers money. I have also helped create the Student Research Center which allows overworked court appointed attorneys to get free legal research from law students.
I have dedicated hundreds of hours of pro-bono work to aid those in need. From small issues like help contesting traffic tickets to more complex issues like landlord-tenant issues, workers comp, and Sheriff’s Sales, it has been part of my personal mission to aid people that come to me for help, even when they cannot afford my services. I am proud to have given free legal assistance to several residents of the newly constructed John C. Anderson LGBT Affordable Senior Apartments.
Vacancies for Judge in Pennsylvania Courts are filled by partisan elections in odd-numbered years.
In Philadelphia, there are two basic trial level courts: the Municipal Court whose Judges sit for a term of 6 years, and the Court of Common Pleas whose judges hold a 10 year term.
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Zac is running a grassroots campaign to connect with voters all across the city. He cannot be successful without your help. Please join Zac in this important campaign to help restore confidence in our judicial system by volunteering your time.
There’s lots of work to be done! We look forward to hearing from you.