Daniel Sulman

Member since: Saturday, 29 December 2018
Last Visit: Never
First Name
Last Name
Campaign Cycle
Common Pleas
Sitting Judge
Email Address
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ballot Position
Button #
Bar Association Rating
Progressive Groups
Public Officials
News Papers
What has been the general nature of your practice?
I have been admitted to the practice of law in Pennsylvania since the year 2000 and I have nearly 17 years of experience in all areas of Domestic Relations law, including serving 1.5 years as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas assigned to the Philadelphia Family Court Division after appointment to the bench in the year 2016 by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.
Why do you consider yourself qualified to be judge?
I am a lifelong resident of Philadelphia, a graduate of Philadelphia public schools and father of two children. I have nearly a 17-year record of public service to the families of this city and have earned a "Recommended" rating from the Philadelphia Bar Association Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention on three separate occasions, including 2019. My career in public service commenced in the year 2002, when I served as the law clerk to a judge in Domestic Violence Court. Thereafter, I served as a trier of fact in thousands of record evidentiary hearings in highly important and sensitive family court matters, including child support, spousal support and child custody cases. For nearly eighteen months beginning in July of 2016, I had the privilege and honor to serve as a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia Family Court, where I presided over some of the most challenging and important matters confronting our courts. As a Master and as a Judge in Family Court, I have gained a reputation within the legal community for fairness, efficiency, independence and integrity. During my service as a member of the judiciary, I attempted to work diligently, ethically, thoughtfully and compassionately in rendering decisions that have real and lasting impact of some of the most vulnerable people in society, including children and victims of domestic violence. Moreover, I endeavored to ensure that litigants and children were granted the opportunity to have their voices heard. At all times, I endeavored to demonstrate proper judicial temperament, in addition to the skill and competence necessary to manage a voluminous docket while being tasked with the responsibility of rendering the most difficult of decisions.

Upon the expiration of my judicial commission, I continued in public service by returning to Family Court as a Master in Custody, where I was subsequently tasked to assist the Court in developing and implementing a new internal procedure which has effectively streamlined and expedited the resolution of Custody Relocation cases.

Outside of the formal duties of my employment, I have actively participated in professional development by frequently serving as an instructor in continuing legal education. Further, I have made efforts to promote collegiality between members of the bar and the bench via service in the Family Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association and as an officer and board member of the Cipriani Inn of Court.
What is it about our criminal justice system that inspires you?
The experience of serving as a Family Court judge granted me a daily opportunity to protect the safety and well-being of children. This inspired me because I was able to make a difference for the better in the lives of the children appearing before the court.
What about our current criminal justice system do you believe needs to be reformed?
Generally speaking, pre-trial detention of those charged with a crime should be the exception, not the rule in criminal cases. While cash bail might be reasonable or necessary in certain cases due to risk of flight or a particular defendant with a history of violence, a recent review of Philadelphia cases indicates that the non-appearance rate in cashless bail cases is similar to the non-appearance rate in cash bail cases. Cash bail imposes serious burdens on defendants, especially those of lower income who cannot afford to post even a token amount of bail. As a result, these persons are often held in custody for many months prior to trial, causing loss of employment, homelessness and other financial difficulties that have a destabilizing ripple effect on families, children and our neighborhoods. Further, defendants who are unable to post cash bail are more likely to simply plead guilty to crimes in order to be released from prison earlier, which then burdens an individual with a criminal record which hinders the ability to obtain future employment opportunities.
As a judge, what would your sentencing philosophy be?
Judges should be free from bias and prejudice in all matters, including sentencing. Each and every individual appearing before the court should be accorded a full and fair opportunity to plead their case. All defendants should be judged according to the specific facts of their case. Sentences should be reasonable and "fit the crime" . Judges, in appropriate cases, should consider the availability of alternative dispositions, substance abuse treatment and/or mental health treatment. In cases where prison time is legally mandated or otherwise appropriate, judges should consider how the terms of prison sentence might contribute to the rehabilitation of a defendant.
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.
As a judge, I presided over scores of difficult and sensitive child custody cases. In each one of these matters, I was responsible to secure the safety and well-being of children. While I was confident that I listened intently to all of the testimony and all of the witnesses with the goal of rendering a thoughtful and well-reasoned decision in each matter, I often struggled with the reality that no human being is able to predict how the future will unfold or how a decision that seemed correct at the time might not be so accurate months or years later due to changes outside of my control.
Who are your role models and why?
Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, who was one the most influential, principled and progressive members of the court during his tenure.
What is your favorite book, movie, or tv show of all time and why did it speak to you so much?
My favorite television show is "The Wire". The show resonated with me because of its highly-accurate depiction of human beings in modern urban society.
Name a song that you were obsessed with as a teenager.
Obsessed is a bit of a strong word, but "Check the Rhime" by A Tribe Called Quest might come close.
What is you favorite number?
When my 2019 ballot number is assigned, I'll let you know.
NewsNo Result