Craig Levin

Member since: Tuesday, 12 March 2019
Last Visit: Never
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Common Pleas
Sitting Judge
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8th Ward
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What has been the general nature of your practice?
The bulk of my practice is civil. I was an NFL and NHL sports agent attorney in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. I also handle minor criminal matters.
Why do you consider yourself qualified to be judge?
I have been a practicing trial lawyer in Philadelphia for over 31 years. I have personally handled over 2,000 cases and have tried more than 500 cases in state and federal courts in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I am honest, fair, patient and I care what happens to people and have empathy for their particular circumstances. I understand what it is like to be an attorney and how intimidating it can be for people who have to appear in court, either as a witness or as a litigant, victim or accused. I understand that as a judge, I will be making decisions that could have a lasting impact on the lives of the people who appear before me and I take that responsibility seriously.
When evaluating a situation, I take the time to look at how it affects all of those involved so that I can make the best decision. I have worked hard my whole life. I am qualified to be a judge, not only because of my significant courtroom experience, but because I care about understanding the circumstances that worked to bring the parties before me and I will continue to work hard to make sure that justice is properly administered.
What is it about our criminal justice system that inspires you?
That it’s an ever changing, evolving system that is not stuck in a moment in time. While there are certain fundamentals, the ability to continue to learn and make adjustments and adapt is inspiring and reinforces the importance and immense responsibility attached to the role of judge. Although our justice system is far from perfect, it is the best in the world.
What about our current criminal justice system do you believe needs to be reformed?
As a judge, I believe it’s necessary to understand “the whole story” taking into account the person’s background and what led them to become involved in the criminal justice system. Don’t get me wrong, people have to be held responsible for their actions, but in the criminal justice system, in order to determine a just and fair result, a judge has to see the “big picture”.
There are programs and services available in the City of Philadelphia that do great work in helping reduce the rates of crime, imprisonment and of recidivism. We need to focus, wherever possible, on avoiding the circumstances which lead one to become involved in the criminal justice system, help those returning to society after imprisonment, and utilize resources to “break the cycle” and keep individuals from returning to the same things that brought them to the criminal justice system in the first place. This can and should include classes focusing on education and vocational training, especially learning a trade. Such programs would benefit everyone and reduce crime rates and incarceration.
As a judge, what would your sentencing philosophy be?
My philosophy would be to be ensure that every case before me receives a full, fair and impartial hearing. This means that in determining an appropriate sentence, I would evaluate the matter entirely and consider carefully the desired outcome of a particular sentence.
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.
No, I have never woken up in the middle of the night wishing I had handled something differently on a case. I pride myself on thoroughly preparing all of my cases, no matter how big or small of a matter. There have been nights that I’ve lost sleep thinking about how to best serve my clients and making sure that all of my bases are covered.
Who are your role models and why?
My mom, she is a constant source of inspiration for me. She was injured very badly in a car accident years ago, she has battled cancer and gone through many surgeries and treatments and yet she stills manages to smile, laugh and love life and always has words of encouragement for everyone. She taught me to be caring and kind to people, and not to pre-judge people.
Larry Friedman, my former, now retired partner. If people say things about me that are half as nice as the things that are said about Larry, I know I will have lived a good and caring life and have been thought to be a good person. Larry was much more than a partner to me. He has been a legal and personal mentor as well as a father figure. We get along so well because we have the same philosophy on life: Treat all people with kindness and respect. Since Larry’s retirement in 2003, I have kept the name of my firm, Friedman & Levin out of the immense respect and love I have for him.
What is your favorite book, movie, or tv show of all time and why did it speak to you so much?
Manhunt by Peter Bergen, a book about the 10-year search for Bin Laden. 9/11 affected me so profoundly and obviously changed our country and the course of history. I still remember that day so vividly. This book detailed the dedication of the people who serve to defend our country including the immense preparation and planning that went into the search and ultimate elimination of the man who caused such pain and destruction. We are truly lucky to have the men and women that serve this country and can never show enough appreciation for their service.

My favorite TV show would be Seinfeld. It is about nothing. Sometimes it is great to forget everything and just be entertained.
Name a song that you were obsessed with as a teenager.
Prove it all Night by Bruce Springsteen, live version, Passaic, New Jersey, September 19, 1978.
What is you favorite number?
#4 was my number all throughout my hockey career and then it was my son’s hockey number. I was also next to last to pick my ballot position and, with just a few numbers left, I knew I was going to pick #4! The #4 ultimately translated to Ballot position # 6. So, my new favorite number is #6!
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Voters will head to the polls on May 21 and be asked to fill nine open judicial seats. There are races for judicial openings in Pennsylvania’s Superior Court (two seats), in Philadelphia’s Municipal Court (one seat) and in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas (six seats). We have profiled five...

Created: 26 April 2019