Pennsylvania Judge of the Court of Common Pleas 17th District
17th Judicial District: Snyder and Union CountiesThe Courts of Common Pleas are the trial courts of Pennsylvania. Major civil and criminal cases are heard in these courts. Judges also decide cases involving adoption, divorce, child custody, abuse, juvenile delinquency, estates, guardianships, charitable organizations, and many other matters. The Common Pleas courts are organized into 60 judicial districts, most of which encompass a single county. Seven judicial districts in lightly populated areas include two counties. Snyder and Union Counties are combined into the 17th Judicial District under two judges. A president judge and a court administrator serve in each judicial district. President Judge Michael T. Hudock is retiring. Judge Michael H. Sholley was elected to a second term by judicial retention in 2019.Term: 10 yearsSalary: $186,665Vote for ONE.
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Brian L. Kerstetter
Lori R. Hackenberg
What can you do on and off the bench to ensure that all individuals have equal access to justice?
Describe an important personal trait that would make you an effective judge in the Court of Common Pleas.
Lewisburg Area High School 1992
King's College, B.A. 1996
Ohio Northern University, J.D. 1999
I've been engaged in the private practice of law since 1999 earning a breadth of experience in all areas of the law. In addition, I serve as First Assistant District Attorney in Snyder County and have for 17 of my 21 years of practice. I've tried over 100 cases to jury verdict.
The biggest impediment to equal justice, in my eyes, is lack of representation. In probably 70-80% of civil cases, which includes divorce, custody and support cases, atleast one party is unrepresented. This has the effect of tipping the scales of justice in favor of the represented party more often than not. So, in order to balance the scales again, I would consider relaxing some of the strictly formal procedures (not substantive ones) that cause cases to be dismissed for mere "technicalities." I would also suggest the greater availability of legal forms for self-represented parties as well as incentives to attract attorneys to provide no cost or low cost representation to indigent persons.
Compassion. My father was a police officer for 28 years. My mother is an R.N. who retired from SCI Muncy. Both of them instilled in me at a young age the notion that people should be treated fairly, compassionately and with dignity regardless of their life circumstances, their race, their sex, etc. Lady Justice wears a blindfold, her scales are equally balanced and she carries a sword. Justice is to be blind. It is to be equal, but when necessary, justice can be severe. I've tried my best to project those principles as a prosecutor and I would continue to do so if elected to the bench.
- Mifflinburg Area High School
- Widener University School of Law
-Magisterial District Judge since 2012
-A Judicial Team Member of the Drug, Alcohol & Mental Health Treatment Court of the 17th Judicial District
-Practicing Attorney for over 17 years
-Adjunct Instructor at Susquehanna University
-Advisory Board Member of the Union-Snyder Community Action Agency
As a currently serving judge, I am committed to ensuring that all parties, including crime victims and defendants, are treated fairly and justly. In certain situations, early intervention offers the best and most just outcome. That is why I am an active judicial team member of the Drug, Alcohol & Mental Health Treatment Court of the 17th Judicial District. Problem-solving courts provide non-violent defendants alternatives to incarceration that address existing substance abuse and mental health issues. As a judge, I actively promote the use of early intervention strategies, encourage alternative dispute resolutions processes, and partner with local non-profit organizations to provide pro bono/low bono resources to qualified litigants.
Judicial temperament is an essential personal trait of an effective and fair judge. Proper judicial temperament ensures that all litigants are treated with dignity and respect. With over 9 years of judicial experience as a Magisterial District Judge, I have a proven record of being fair and impartial while exhibiting exemplary judicial temperament. I have been a judge on the front lines for over 9 years and have built an excellent reputation for being respectful and patient, while maintaining order and decorum in my courtroom. Union and Snyder County residents can rely on me to continue being a fair judge with the necessary judicial temperament to serve them on the bench.
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