The Philadelphia Bar Association released its second and final round of recommended judicial candidates for the May 19 primary, an election for which a record number of vacancies has resulted in a huge pool of hopefuls.

Philadelphia's 12 vacancies on Common Pleas Court and three on Municipal Court drew more than 90 candidates in March. That numbered has dwindled significantly since then.

Of the 63 candidates initially running for Common Pleas Court, 20 have withdrawn. In the Municipal Court race, only eight remain out of an original pool of 36.

A candidate for judge must be 21, a city resident, and a licensed attorney. With a $176,572 paycheck and a lottery to determine ballot position, it's an enticing gig to aim for.

And in Pennsylvania, candidates can run for both courts, so most candidates double-file, wait to see which ballot position is better, and then drop out of the other race.

The courts are similar, but far from identical. Common Pleas Court has 90 judges assigned to three divisions - Trial, Family, and Orphans'. Municipal Court, responsible for smaller-claim civil cases and more minor criminal offenses, has 25 judges.

The bar's team of 140 members, including nonlawyers, vets all the candidates who request a review. Those who do not approach the bar are automatically rated "not recommended."

An initial round of ratings came out last month.

According to the bar's website, candidates found "recommended" had the "ability, experience, integrity, temperament, community involvement, and judgment fit for the position."

Candidates found "not recommended" either did not meet the criteria for "recommend" or did not request to be rated.

Among those rated "not recommended" is Frances Fattah, daughter of U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.). She graduated from Fordham Law School in 2002 and has worked for Sydney, Lei & Associates, where she did consulting work for her father. It was unclear whether Fattah submitted paperwork to the bar for a review. She did not return requests for comment.

Candidates found "highly recommended" are described as "extraordinary individuals who, in addition to meeting the `recommended' criteria, are preeminent in the profession, exceptionally skilled in the law, possess a reputation for the utmost integrity, and significantly will enhance or have enhanced the quality of the judiciary."

Phila. Bar recommendations

The Philadelphia Bar Association has released its full slate of recommendations for the May 19 primary. The Bar rates candidates "highly recommended," "recommended" and "not recommended." Candidates who do not request a rating are automatically rated "not recommended."


Highly recommended: Abbe Fletman, Chris Mallios, and Kai Scott.

Recommended: Wayne M.D. Bennett, James F. Berardinelli, Marissa Brumbach, Lucretia Clemons, Michael Fanning, Vince Giusini, Leon Goodman, Daine Grey Jr., Joshua Hill, Leon A. King II, Anthony Kyriakakis, Jodi Lobel, Thomas Martin, Chris McCabe, Vincent N. Melchiorre, Brian T. Ortelere, Rainy Papademetriou, Mia Roberts Perez, Ken Powell, Stephanie M. Sawyer, Jennifer Schultz, Stella Tsai, Betsy Wahl, and Deborah Watson-Stokes

Not Recommended: Franklin A. Bennett III, Tangie M. Boston, Starr Marshall Cash, William J. Ciancaglini, Scott DiClaudio, Frances Fattah, Vincent Furlong, Shanese Johnson, Edward William Louden Jr., Rania Major, Jon Marshall, Tracy B. Roman, Lynne M. Summers, Sherman Toppin, Sandjai Weaver, and Lyris Younge


Recommended: Matthew Perks, Joffie C. Pittman, and Daniel R. Sulman

Not Recommended: Franklin A. Bennett III, Christian DiCicco, Christine Hope, Sharon Williams Losier, and Gary S. Silver

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