- Pennsylvania Among 'Terrible 10' Most Regressive Tax States
- February 4 Non-Partisan Training: HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013: HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Republican Governors Opt-In to Medicaid Expansion
- The Reports of Unions' Death Are Greatly Exaggerated
- Ask Allyson Schwartz to run for Governor
- Mind the gap: Opting Out of Medicaid Expansion Leaves Low-income Families Behind
- Jan. 14 Workshop:HOW TO RUN FOR ELECTION BOARD IN 2013; HOW TO RUN FOR COMMITTEEPERSON IN 2014
- Seth Williams on Guns, Jasmine Rivera on School Closures @PFC Meetup Wednesday
- PA Revenue Strong Midway Through Year; Tax Cut Could Have Big Impact
- What to Make of the Fiscal Cliff Deal?
I thought the Bar Association could be counted on to insure a judicial candidate met minimum qualifications, but apparently not
I thought the Bar Association could be counted on to insure a judicial candidate met minimum qualifications, but apparently not.
I’ve never been a fan of electing judges, and sure don’t want Bob Brady deciding who gets to be a judge. However, I thought that at least we have the Bar Association to certify that the candidate has the minimum qualifications for the office. I had also assumed that the Bar Association could be counted on to certify that the candidate was of good character (at least no major scandals or ethics violations). I was wrong.
Just in case you missed it, a very troubling article about Judge Nocella appeared in Monday’s Inquirer at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/133784758.html?viewAll=y
Newly elected Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas M. Nocella credits U.S. Rep. Bob Brady - Philadelphia's Democratic Party boss - for intervening with ward leaders to put him on the ticket.
"He is the one in control," said Nocella, 67, rated qualified for the bench by the Philadelphia Bar Association, despite having been sanctioned by the city Ethics Commission in 2009.
He pointed out that he had done years of free legal work for the party and said the judgeship was his reward. "That's the way it's done in Pennsylvania," he said.
On Jan. 2, he will begin drawing a $165,000 judicial salary. Nocella welcomes the new income because there is a $358,000 IRS lien against him, the state says he ignored local taxes for years, and he has more than $1 million in debts listed in a bankruptcy case.
He is also embroiled in a Common Pleas Court lawsuit accusing him of fraud and deceit in 2005, when he helped sell off property for $507,500 that was owned by a Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Manayunk.
Nocella was totally unapologetic about getting a judgeship as his reward for doing free legal work for the Party. No wonder so many young people today want nothing to do with electoral politics.
According to Nocella, “No one on the [Bar Association] panel asked him about the VFW lawsuit or about fines that he was forced to pay by the city Ethics Commission two years ago.” Were they asleep at the switch or did they just not care?
Nocella lost three primary elections, but despite these repeated rejections by the voters, Brady chose him to fill a last minute vacancy, thus making a total mockery of the democratic process.
I urge you to read the entire article and let Rudolph Garcia, the chancellor of the American Bar Association know what you think of his organization’s decision in this case. Americans for Democratic Action and the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Organization for Women have written letters of protest and I expect other progressive organizations will as well.
What will it take to get citizens angry enough to demand change in the way we choose judges??