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Philly Bar association issues annual ratings for judicial candidates

“Not recommended” scores went to 12 candidates seeking 15 seats.

IT'S THAT TIME of year when those seeking to be elected to a judgeship get judged themselves.

A dozen bench candidates in the May 19 primary would likely object - if they could - to the "not recommended" rating they received from the Philadelphia Bar Association.

Four others, however, were the first to receive the newly added "highly recommended" rating. Also for the first time, the bar association has rated appellate court candidates from Philadelphia.

Bar association chancellor Albert Dandridge said a record 59 candidates for Common Pleas Court and Municipal Court will be evaluated this spring.

The ratings were issued by the bar association's 30-member judicial commission following extensive study, investigation and candidate interviews conducted by the commission's 140-member investigative division.

"I think we are giving the citizens of Philadelphia a fairly good choice of candidates," Dandridge said.

The ratings, released yesterday, will be followed by a second round in May.

Lawyer Sharon Williams Losier was among 10 Common Pleas candidates and five Municipal Court candidates deemed "not recommended."

"I'm not surprised. I didn't seek their endorsement this time, nor will I ever seek it again. I see no reason why I would not be highly recommended," Williams Losier said, noting her 25 years as a workers' compensation attorney.

"I would hope the voters would do their own research."

Candidates receiving a "recommended" rating were judged favorably in 10 categories, including legal ability, experience, integrity, temperament, community involvement and judgment.

Those found to be "highly recommended" are "extraordinary individuals who, in addition to meeting the 'recommended' criteria, are pre-eminent 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," according to the bar association.

"Highly recommended" ratings were given to Supreme Court candidate Anne Lazarus, and Common Pleas Court candidates Abbe Fletman, Christopher Peter Mallios Jr. (who is also running for Municipal Court) and Kai Scott.

"Recommended" ratings were given to Supreme Court candidate Kevin Dougherty; Superior Court candidate Alice Beck Dubow; and Common Pleas Court candidates James Berardinelli, Lucretia Clemons, James Crumlish III, Michael Fanning, Vincent Giusini, Daine Grey Jr., Anthony George Kyriakakis, Thomas Martin, Christopher McCabe, Vincent Melchiorre, Brian Ortelere, Ourania Papademetriou, Kenneth James Powell Jr., Stella Ming Tsai and Betsy Jo Wahl.

"Recommended" ratings were also given to Municipal Court candidates Fanning, Giusini, Roger Gordon, Matthew Kent Perks and Joffie Pittman.

"Not recommended" were Common Pleas Court candidates Williams Losier, Franklin Bennett, Deborah Cianfrani, Scott DiClaudio, Vincent Furlong, Edward Louden Jr., Jon Marshall, Tracy Brandeis-Roman, Zachary Shaffer and Dawn Tancredi.

"Not recommended" for Municipal Court were Bennett, Williams Losier, Brandeis-Roman, Christian DiCicco and Gary Silver.