By Amaris Elliott-Engel
Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Teresa Sarmina has been highly recommended in her candidacy for the one open spot on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, according to the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Judicial Evaluation Commission.
The Legal will have a more in-depth story next week about the commission's recommendations, as well as which candidates are endorsed over the weekend by the state Democratic Committee.
Superior Court Judges Cheryl L. Allen, Judge Joan Orie Melvin and Jack A. Panella, along with Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Paul Panepinto also have been highly recommended in their bids for the Supreme Court.
Sarmina, a criminal judge, was elected to the Common Pleas bench in 1997 and retained in 2007. Sarmina previously worked as a senior deputy attorney general, a Philadelphia assistant district attorney, a legislative aide and as a social worker.
Sarmina is seldom reversed on appeal, and she has earned the respect of bench and bar alike, the commission's recommendation said.
"The commission concludes that the candidate would bring exceptional skills, experience and commendable personal qualities to the Supreme Court, and the commission highly recommends her candidacy," the recommendation said.
The commission recommended Kevin F. McCarthy, an Allegheny County assistant district attorney who works in that office's appellate unit, in his bid for the Superior Court.
Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Robert J. Colville, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Paula A. Patrick, Allegheny County attorney Templeton Smith Jr. and Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge John Milton Younge were previously recommended by the commission for the Superior Court. Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Anne E. Lazarus has been highly recommended by the commission for the Superior Court.
Daniel K. Bricmont, an Allegheny County attorney with a personal injury practice specializing in workers' compensation and unemployment compensation cases, Linda S. Judson, an Allegheny County attorney who also works in workers' compensation law, Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge James Murray Lynn, who has been a judge since 1991, were recommended in their bids for Commonwealth Court.
Barbara Jo Ernsberger, an Allegheny County general practitioner, was found not recommended because her lack of experience practicing before Commonwealth Court is very limited, and because the commission expressed concern if she has the temperament required of an appellate court judge.
Michael Sherman, a managing partner at Fried Kane Walters Zuschlag & Grochmal in Pittsburgh, and Alfonso Frioni Jr., a member of the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board from Allegheny County, also were previously recommended by the commission to the Commonwealth Court.
There are two open seats on the Commonwealth Court, and three open seats on the Superior Court.
The commission promises recommendations about the Republican appellate court candidates before the state Republican Committee meeting. All the recommendations so far have involved Democratic candidates