Tiffany Palmer

Member since: Saturday, 29 December 2018
Last Visit: Never
First Name
Last Name
Campaign Cycle
Common Pleas
Sitting Judge
Email Address
Ballot Position
Button #
Bar Association Rating
Highly Recommended
1st Ward, 2nd Ward, 5th Ward, 8th Ward, 9th Ward, 18th Ward, 27th Ward, 30th Ward
Philadelphia Firefighters & Paramedics Union Local #22, AFSCME DC 47, Ironworkers Local #401, Temple Association of University Professionals (TAUP), Teamsters Local 115
Progressive Groups
Victory Fund, Reclaim Philadelphia, Liberty City LGBT Democrats, National Organization of Women (NOW), 215 People's Alliance, Philly for Change, GRASP, Americans For Democratic Action (ADA), Neighborhood Networks
Public Officials
Governor Ed Rendell, Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Rep. Elizabeth Fiedler, Rep. Chris Rabb
News Papers
Philadelphia Gay News, Philadelphia Tribune
What has been the general nature of your practice?
The nature of my practice has been civil litigation with an emphasis on civil rights and social justice. I began my legal career as a public interest law attorney, representing low-income LGBTQ clients in family law cases, estate planning, real estate matters, and probate matters. I went into private practice in 2003 and have co-owned and operated Jerner & Palmer, P.C. since that time. I continue to represent clients in a wide variety of family law matters, civil matters, family law related quasi-criminal matters, and Orphans’ Court matters. During my 20 years practicing law, I have also been counsel on several appellate cases that have shaped Pennsylvania law. I have argued before the Pennsylvania Superior Court numerous times and I have argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Why do you consider yourself qualified to be judge?
I believe I am qualified to be a judge based on the breadth and depth of my legal experience over the past 20 years, my life experience, and my character.
In my 20 years of law practice, I have represented a wide range of clients, many of whom have been the most vulnerable members of our society. I have represented clients in deep poverty, LGBTQ people, people of color, clients who speak no English and require a foreign language interpreter, clients who have hearing loss and require sign language interpreters, clients with physical disabilities, clients with profound mental illness, incarcerated minors, adults lacking capacity, and clients experiencing severe trauma. I have observed the ways in which these litigants interact with the Philadelphia court system, and have mentally noted the ways in which our courts could have treated some of these litigants with greater respect or compassion. It is my belief that a judge must be fair, thoughtful, and impartial, but also compassionate, patient, and understanding whenever possible. This is particularly true in a jurisdiction like Philadelphia, in which many litigants are unrepresented.
I have also worked on a broad range of cases. I have handled large-volume caseloads and I have the ability to work effectively and efficiently. I understand the court rules very well, I am adept at handling evidentiary issues, I have engaged in extensive discovery, I have drafted innumerable pleadings and motions, and I have handled innumerable trials. I have come to understand very well the administration of the court system, particularly Family Court, and I believe that I would enter the judiciary with a working knowledge of the way in which justice is administered in Philadelphia.
I believe that my life experience would also make me a qualified candidate for the judiciary. The compassion I would bring to the court is a compassion born from experiences- from my experiences representing the most vulnerable members of our society, from my own experiences as an out LGBT person, from being the daughter of two public school teachers who struggled financially, and from being a parent myself.
I believe that my character also qualifies me for the judiciary. I have always had a strong commitment to public service. I have been involved in working to better our city’s public schools and I am a Girl Scout Troop Leader. I have a strong sense of fairness, justice, and ethics. I also possess a very strong sense of community and love for the people of Philadelphia. I believe that I can administer and apply the law in a fair and balanced way to solve problems and bring about resolutions to conflicts.
What is it about our criminal justice system that inspires you?
The criminal justice system inspires me to work for reform to make it more effective as the emphasis on over incarceration and extended periods of court supervision has failed society. (see below).
The justice system overall inspires me because it can be responsive to advances towards social justice and equality. As an LGBTQ person, I understand that the law can have a profound impact on a person’s life. I have been in a long-term relationship with my spouse since 1999, but we were unable to formalize our relationship through marriage for many years. Although we married in Vermont in 2010, our marriage was not recognized under federal law or in our home state of Pennsylvania until 2014. This experience only solidified my belief that the judicial branch, despite inevitable shortcomings, is a real pathway toward ensuring fair treatment of all Americans. This is what inspires me.
What about our current criminal justice system do you believe needs to be reformed?
There are many positive reforms currently taking place in our criminal justice system, such as the limiting of cash bail, increased diversionary programs and alternatives to incarceration. We need to continue to implement these positive reforms, including decreasing the number of people under supervision of the courts for probation and parole.
I am also particularly interested in family court reform, where I have practiced for 20 years. Family Court is currently in great need of qualified judges who are experienced in trial procedure and who have a working knowledge of substantive law. Additionally, Family Court needs judges who can handle cases involving people in great emotional crisis and the majority of whom face a judge without legal representation. I also believe I could assist in improving efficiencies our system of justice for families in our court system by working to reduce backlog and wait times and by making it more family friendly, especially where children are expected to wait for long periods of time.
Additionally, I would ensure that litigants in my courtroom are afforded respect, dignity, and compassion, and that they understand the proceedings.
As a judge, what would your sentencing philosophy be?
Judges are bound to apply the law and should also consider each individual and the circumstances of the case. Judges should fashion an individualized sentence considering the whole person, the circumstances of the event with the sentencing guidelines as a starting place.
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.
This has happened to me for almost every major case I have handled. Good trial lawyers strive for perfection and second-guessing decisions made during a trial are par for the course. This process makes one a better attorney. I don’t think I will ever work in a job where I will stop doing this! We should all strive to do our best and learn how to improve from every experience.
Who are your role models and why?
My role model for judge is Notorious RBG. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has been a trailblazing advocate for women’s rights throughout her career, she has used her intellect and her voice to advocate for social justice.
What is your favorite book, movie, or tv show of all time and why did it speak to you so much?
I was obsessed with the book series and the TV series “Little House on the Prairie” as a kid. I saw myself in the spunky outspoken tomboy Laura. She was never afraid to speak her mind or stand up for what is right, even if it defied social norms.
Name a song that you were obsessed with as a teenager.
Boys Don’t Cry- The Cure
What is you favorite number?
#23 – Vote for Tiffany!
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