Jul 15, 2011

PA: Local Push for Independent Judges and a More Diverse Bench

From the Standard Speaker:
Denouncing the Luzerne County court system for a "horrifying" lack of diversity, attorney and activist Harry Hamilton said Thursday he would circulate nominating petitions for a potential independent run for judge.

"I can't talk about change, I can't talk about bringing color to the courthouse and not recognize or realize that I'm a qualified judicial candidate, if nominated," Hamilton said, after addressing about a group of two-dozen supporters in the courthouse rotunda . . .

Hamilton, 49, said he must collect about 800 signatures by an Aug. 1 deadline in order to secure a position in the Nov. 8 general election. If he runs, he would join seven other candidates vying for six open seats, including five nominated on both the Democratic and Republican ballots. Hamilton said he considered running in the May primary, but wanted to divorce himself from the partisanship of the two-party system.

"In order to remove the taint, if you will, a judicial candidate should be independent of a particular party," Hamilton said. "I had to set aside the rhetoric, if you will, of what might be the best party to run with and for because I believe firmly that, when it comes to judicial office, you should be independent." . . .

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