Statement from PACDL President Peter E. Kratsa Regarding Allegations of Racially Derogatory Remarks
The allegations against Judge Tranquilli, if true, are anathema to everything the public should expect of Judges in our Commonwealth. It is imperative that all lawyers involved in the criminal justice system maintain integrity and impartially follow the rule of law in the pursuit of justice.
We commend both attorneys, the defense attorney and the prosecutor, who alerted the Judicial Conduct Board to the extremely disturbing comments attributed to this Judge and we trust that the Board will investigate the conduct and, if proven, address it appropriately.
PACDL Files Amicus Brief in The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund
On January 29, 2020, PACDL filed an Amicus Brief in the case of The Philadelphia Community Bail Fund arguing that the Rules of Criminal Procedure need to be clarified to prevent the use of monetary conditions of bail being used as a de facto detention order without sufficient due process. Specifically, the brief set forth, inter alia, the following arguments:
1) a robust ability to pay assessent, incorporating the in forma pauperis criteria, should be conducted in any case in which monetary conditions are imposed;
2) when assigning a condition of bail other than ROR, bail authorities should be required to state in writing or put on the record the specific reason why the conditions of release are the least restrictive and reasonably necessary to ensure appearance,the safety of the community and compliance with conditions;
3) a defendant that is held either without bail or who remains in custody due to the imposition of monetary or non-monetary conditions, should be entitled to a timely Bail Review Hearing in the Court of Common Pleas; and
4) bail authories need guidance regarding factors to be considered when the prosecution asks for bail to be denied based on alleged dangerousness.
Kudos to Katherine Ernst of the Public Defender Office of Montgomery County and Heather J. Mattes of the Law Offices of Heather J. Mattes, West Chester who prepared and filed the brief in coordination with PACDL's Amicus Committe led by Barbara Zemlock, Harrisburg.