Betsy Wahl

Member since: Tuesday, 17 January 2017
Last Visit: Never
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What has been the general nature of your practice?
I sit as a Master in Juvenile Court
Why do you consider yourself qualified to be judge?
I have 33 years of experience in Philadelphia's courtrooms. I began as a Public Defender, representing thousands of juveniles and adults charged with crimes, in jury trials, bench trials, and juvenile court. I was selected to join the Juvenile Special Defense Unit, representing juveniles charged with very serious and newsworthy crimes. For the past 14 years, I have served in a judicial capacity as a Master in juvenile court. I hear over 200 cases per week, and have earned the respect of all stakeholders, including the juveniles and families that have appeared in my courtroom. I consider it an honor to be entrusted to make the right decisions, and I work tirelessly to do so. I will bring my energy and passion to a Judgeship.
What is it about our criminal justice system that inspires you?
The success stories I see every day are inspiring. As a Master, I am able to positively affect the lives of young people, but giving them the support they need to become employed, educated, and crime-free.
What about our current criminal justice system do you believe needs to be reformed?
We need to reform the bail system, so that indigent people are no longer sitting in custody, unable to afford bail, on cases in which probation is the likely outcome. We need to do more to divert cases to treatment and supervision programs, so that people are not burdened unnecessarily with criminal records.
As a judge, what would your sentencing philosophy be?
I would strive to sentence with the least restrictive alternative, while considering community safety.
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.
Yes. I made a decision to send a youth to placement. I second-guessed myself in the middle of the night, deciding that he could succeed in a less restrictive alternative, in the community. The next morning, I added that case to my list, and changed the outcome.
Who are your role models and why?
One of my role models is my uncle, who was a Judge in Wilmington, Delaware. He always acted fairly, creatively, and with grace under pressure.
What is your favorite book, movie, or tv show of all time and why did it speak to you so much?
My favorite movie is Harold & Maude. It is a great reminder that we should strive to live life to the fullest.
Name a song that you were obsessed with as a teenager.
all of Bruce Springsteen
What is you favorite number?
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