Betsy Wahl

Member since: Thursday, 11 February 2021
Last Visit: Never
First Name
Last Name
Campaign Cycle
Common Pleas
Sitting Judge
Email Address
Ballot Position
Button #
Bar Association Rating
Democratic City Committee, 1st Ward, 2nd Ward, 5th Ward, 8th Ward, 9th Ward, 27th Ward
Progressive Groups
Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks, Reclaim Philadelphia, Liberty City LGBT Democrats, Free the Ballot
Public Officials
News Papers
What has been the general nature of your practice?
Juvenile Court Hearing Officer
Why do you consider yourself qualified to be judge?
With well over 35 years of experience in Philadelphia’s courtrooms, including the past 20 years in a judicial capacity as a Hearing Officer in Juvenile Court, I believe I am highly qualified to be a judge.

My experience as a Hearing Officer - an invaluable and relevant experience for a potential judgeship- is strong:

-I am well respected by all stakeholders in the juvenile system. -I have a track record for moving large numbers of cases (often more than 200 per week) forward in an efficient manner, while also taking the time and effort needed to make the right decisions. -My courtroom always starts on time, with parties seldom kept waiting long to be heard. -I am always meticulously prepared on every one of hundreds of cases each week. -I preside over all the videoconferences for our juveniles in placement. -I presided over our Graduated Response Court, designed to turn juveniles around without resorting to long-term placement. -I am always available and approachable.

-I work extremely hard everyday, with boundless energy. I am in my courtroom two hours early daily to prepare. -I have visited nearly all of our juvenile placements and programs (on weekends and evenings), realizing that a decision to place a juvenile is not to be taken lightly, and that when making such a decision, I should know as much about the potential placement as possible, to ensure that the juvenile’s needs will be met.

-I participated in the Anne E. Casey JDAI (Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative), on the Graduated Response Task Force.
My background as a mediator and as a Public Defender also provides vital experience for the bench. In the 1990s as a Court-appointed and private mediator, I worked to deliver fair outcomes for all stakeholders in custodial and family matters. In the 1980s I tried hundreds of cases as a Public Defender, including jury and bench trials--and I was chosen to serve in the high-profile juvenile special defense unit, representing very serious offenders and high-publicity cases.

I consider it an honor to be entrusted to make the right decisions, and I work tirelessly to do so. I am running for Judge to enable me to do more of what I do now. I would certainly bring the qualities I use as a Hearing Officer to the judgeship. I have the energy and passion to do more, and I would welcome the opportunity.
What is it about our criminal justice system that inspires you?
The power of the court to set juveniles (and adults) on the right course.
What about our current criminal justice system do you believe needs to be reformed?
We need to reform our cash bail system, as well as our unduly lengthly and burdensome probation and parole periods.
As a judge, what would your sentencing philosophy be?
I am, and will be focused on sentences that are rehabilitative and supportive. The goal would be to determine what is needed to support an individual's ability to become a productive and law-abiding citizen, while keeping the community safe.
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.
Who are your role models and why?
What is your favorite book, movie, or tv show of all time and why did it speak to you so much?
Name a song that you were obsessed with as a teenager.
any song by Bruce Springsteen
What is you favorite number?
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