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Voting for judges


Primary day is Tuesday. There are a lot of judges on the Philadelphia ballot.

There are so many that The Inquirer and Daily News do not have the resources to interview all the candidates and make an informed decisions.

The Philadelphia Bar Association, however, does. There are 34 people on the judges commission, and 120 volunteers. Candidates were sent a 12-page, 32-question survey. They had to discuss their most significant litigated matters, and examples of their written work.

Any candidate who did not submit these materials was deemed "not recommended," one of only two evaluations the bar offers.

A team of investigators were assigned to analyze every candidate.

The Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention interviewed 20 people about the candidate, at least eight of whom were not suggested by the candidate.

Candidates were graded in 10 separate categories including trial experience, judicial temperament, and a record and reputation for excellent character and integrity.

And still, the Democratic City Committee and the various powers that be, few of them lawyers, went ahead and made their own judicial endorsements independent of the bar's conclusions.

Because, in Philadelphia, it's not what you know, but who you know.

A minor miracle is that only three of the City Committee endorsements are not recommended by the Philadelphia Bar: Dawn M. Tancredi and Leon A. King III for Court of Common Pleas, and Henry Lewandowski for Municipal Court.

Here are the recommended candidate from the bar:

Philadelphia Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention

Final Ratings for 2013 Primary Candidates

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas

Recommended (Voters pick no more than six):

Giovanni Campbell

Derrick W. Coker

Anne Marie Coyle

James C. Crumlish

Joe Fernandes

Vince Giusini

Daine A. Grey, Jr.

Timika Lane

Daniel D. McCaffery

Kenneth J. Powell, Jr.

Stephanie M. Sawyer

Katie Scrivner

Philadelphia Municipal Court

Recommended (Voters pick no more than three):

Martin Coleman

Joe Fernandes

Daine A. Grey, Jr.

Robert M. Kline

Fran Shields

Best of luck.

--Karen Heller