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Judicial candidates share insights

May 09, 2009

o Candidates answer more questions

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Four people have been knocking on doors, speaking at forums and mingling at campaign events as they run for two judge positions open in Franklin and Fulton counties.

Political followers have speculated this is the first time two Court of Common Pleas positions were on the ballot in an election cycle. The situation occurred due to the retirement of Judge John Walker and the state's decision to expand the 39th District from four to five judges.

Angela Rosenberry Krom, Shawn Meyers, Timothy Wilmot and Eric J. Weisbrod cross-filed, meaning they will appear on both the Republican and Democratic ballots when voters head to the polls in Pennsylvania's May 19 primary election.

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The candidates answered questions for The Herald-Mail, and their responses will appear in the newspaper today and tomorrow.

Also, the written responses will be at www.herald-mail.com along with a bonus video question. As the camera rolled, each candidate spoke about the balance between sending criminal offenders to jail and assigning them to drug/alcohol rehabilitation.

The order in which the candidates' responses appear was randomly selected from a hat.

Question: What have you learned from the judges you've argued before?

Eric J. Weisbrod,

Waynesboro, Pa., attorney

Being attentive and respectful to litigants, witnesses and counsel is uniformly appreciated. If a decision is not favorable to a client, often if the client felt the judge listened to their side and understood their position, while disappointed in the result, they still have a positive feeling of "getting their day in court."

A judge should be knowledgeable, efficient and decisive without being harsh or disrespectful.

Practicing in courts outside the 39th Judicial District exposes me to practices I can implement when elected. Utilization of standardized orders instead of repetitive dictation yields more efficient disposition of cases. The willingness to meet with counsel before a hearing can resolve issues and cut down on the presentation of needless testimony, further saving valuable time and resources.

Timothy Wilmot

assistant district attorney

I have learned that our judges want to trust the information presented to them by the attorneys practicing before them. Judges want attorneys to get to the crux of the matter, and to be prepared to reference a legal basis for their arguments.

Although I have learned much about the judicial role from appearing before judges, I have gained even more insight into being an effective judge by having served in a judicial capacity as the Master in Divorce, and having worked behind the scenes with three different Common Pleas judges as their law clerk.

I have seen steps that judges take to maintain a neutral perspective in the cases before them and have experienced the judicial role, having been appointed to hear hundreds of cases.

Shawn Meyers,

Franklin County solicitor

All good judges take time to be fully prepared before taking the bench and hearing your case or considering the arguments set forth by the lawyers.

A judge's preparedness for court is quickly revealed by the questions they ask. A well-prepared judge lets the parties know they have invested a great deal of time in the case and will make informed decisions. This is important, as all who come to court want to know they are being heard and their matter will be fairly decided.

In advance of a hearing, a judge can notify the parties that they would like to resolve evidentiary disputes or address issues in a manner resulting in time savings. Judges who show respect to attorneys, their clients and witnesses are then shown the respect they deserve.

Angela Rosenberry Krom,

assistant district attorney

We have dedicated, committed judges in Franklin and Fulton counties. From them, I have learned to always be prepared and to know my case inside and out. I have learned that all individuals before the Court, attorneys and clients alike, must be treated with professionalism and respect. I have learned that court time is valuable and must not be wasted.

I have also learned that the job of a judge is not just about the time spent in the courtroom. A great deal of work goes on outside the courtroom, whether it be preparing for court, researching the law and writing legal opinions; or whether it be working with groups tasked with improving the efficiency and effectiveness of our court system.

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