Brandi McLaughlin

Member since: Saturday, 29 December 2018
Last Visit: Never
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What has been the general nature of your practice?
I have been a criminal defense attorney for almost two decades. I began my career as young trial lawyer at the Defender Association of Philadelphia. I opened my own practice ten years ago and have earned a reputation as a skilled trial attorney. My practice includes representing parents who are facing the removal of their children by the Department of Human Services in Dependency Court. I also represent clients in child custody, support and divorce. In addition, I have been an Adjunct Professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Temple University for 12 years.
Why do you consider yourself qualified to be judge?
My many years of trial experience in our court system here in Philadelphia has taught me the qualities necessary to be a judge in this City. A judge should possess a deep knowledge of the law and be able to render decisions in accordance with that law. A judge should also demonstrate qualities such as empathy and patience. I believe I have all of these qualities which is evident in my practice. I am often representing people in the worst moments of their lives and I work to make sure that their lives are not forever defined by these moments. You cannot be a skilled attorney without possessing the skill of listening to others. I think this a critical skill that judges should possess.
What is it about our criminal justice system that inspires you?
I believe deeply in the importance of our constitutional right to a jury trial. Protecting the integrity of this right is fundamental to ensuring justice for all. Upholding the principles afforded to every person accused of a crime inspires and informs my work on a daily basis.
What about our current criminal justice system do you believe needs to be reformed?
I believe we need to dramatically reduce the amount of time people spend in pre-trial incarceration. The collateral consequences of sitting in jail because you cannot afford to get out too high and too devastating to the individual and our communities.
As a judge, what would your sentencing philosophy be?
As a Judge I believe I would bring my understanding of what brings people into the criminal justice system and what helps people to return to their community successfully. I believe in expanding the role of restorative justice in our courtrooms. Understanding how trauma impacts people who are exposed to it at a young age is critical to understanding how to fashion an appropriate sentence. Understanding the historical reasons why some of our communities face more violence, more poverty, and more housing and food insecurity is critical to fashioning fair sentences.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night thinking about a case and wishing you had handled something differently? If so, please describe one situation.
During a homicide trial, my client decided not to testify and I believed his testimony was critical to our defense. However, it is solely my client’s decision to take the stand. Once the jury began deliberations, I could not sleep agonizing over his decision. Thankfully the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.
Who are your role models and why?
Without hesitation my role model has always been my mother. Over her life she has faced so many obstacles and many situations where most people would just fall apart. She possesses a strength and grace that I hope to have one day.
What is your favorite book, movie, or tv show of all time and why did it speak to you so much?
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. Ultimately the book is about the beauty that lies in each individual regardless of where you are from. I carry that ideal with me every day.
Name a song that you were obsessed with as a teenager.
Raspberry Beret- Prince
What is you favorite number?
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