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James Berardinelli

Campaign Cycle: 2019
Office: Common Pleas
Details
First Name
James
Last Name
Berardinelli
Status
Defeated
Campaign Cycle
2019
Office
Common Pleas
Sitting Judge
No
Party
Democrat
Phone
---
Email Address
committee@jfbforjudge.org
Website
https://www.jfbforjudge.org
Ballot Position
33
Button #
25
Votes
13343
Endorsements
Bar Association Rating
Recommended
Party/Wards
2nd Ward, 8th Ward, 27th Ward
Unions
---
Progressive Groups
---
Clergy
---
Public Officials
---
News Papers
Philadelphia Tribune
Questionnaire
What has been the general nature of your practice?
Defense of indigent clients in homicide cases.
Why do you consider yourself qualified to be judge?
Having spent over 17 years as a homicide and special victims prosecutor before opening my current defense practice, which focuses primarily on homicide defense, I'm one of the few candidates in the race who has seen every aspect of the justice system from both sides. I believe these experiences have given me a great deal of insight into the problems facing the criminal justice system and how they can be remedied so that it works for everyone. In addition, through my work as co-chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association and the First Judicial District Counsel Fee Working Group, I have shown a dedication to ensuring the rights of indigent defendants.
What is it about our criminal justice system that inspires you?
I've found the most inspirational aspect of the justice system to be cases in which defendants, through the help the system gives them and their own determination, are able to turn their lives around and become productive members of society as well as those cases in which the wrongfully accused are able to return to their families.
What about our current criminal justice system do you believe needs to be reformed?
Despite recent efforts, the justice system still does a horrible job of diagnosing and treating mental health. During my time as a prosecutor and defense attorney, I have seen far too many cases in which defendants had multiple contacts with the justice system but were not diagnosed with mental illness until they committed a violent offense. Many of those crimes could have been prevented if they had received proper treatment during their earlier contacts with the justice system. As a judge, I would order full psychiatric evaluations for offenders in gun cases with the hope of helping these offenders receive treatment before their behavior escalates into violent offenses.
As a judge, what would your sentencing philosophy be?
I believe strongly in individualized sentencing that is tailored to give each defendant the tools they need to succeed. I also believe in redemption and giving people second chances. I would only use incarceration as a last resort for the most serious offenders who clearly pose a danger to the community.
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.
I pride myself on putting a great deal of time, thought, and preparation into my cases. While I have had cases that had disappointing outcomes, I can honestly say I've never come away from one thinking I should have handled it differently. I have, however, had many a sleepless night while preparing for trial.
Who are your role models and why?
My two biggest role models are my father and my first boss, Justice Montemuro of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. My dad is a very kind and soft-spoken man of few words. He taught me to treat everyone with respect, no matter what their station in life, and that losing your head rarely produces a good outcome. Justice Montemuro, despite his powerful position, also treated everyone with whom he came in contact with dignity and respect.
What is your favorite book, movie, or tv show of all time and why did it speak to you so much?
Since I first saw it at the age of nine, the original "Rocky" and its message of courage, humility, and redemption has always been very moving to me.
Name a song that you were obsessed with as a teenager.
Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb." (The guitar solos are what inspired me to become a guitarist.)
What is you favorite number?
7
News
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Created: 09 April 2019