By Ben Present
Of The Legal Staff
Shira Goodman, who spent years as deputy director of Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, has announced she will be leaving the court-reform group for to help run a Pennsylvania gun-control advocacy group.
Goodman, who was a Ballard Spahr labor lawyer before joining PMC, said in an email Friday that she would be taking over as executive director of CeaseFirePA, a statewide organization dedicated to reducing gun violence.
“The last 10 years at PMC have been wonderful, but I am excited to begin this new chapter of advocacy, education and coalition building in service of this critical mission,” Goodman said in the email.
Goodman, along with PMC Director Lynn Marks, is quoted often in The Legal and other area media on subjects ranging from attorney ethics to judicial discipline. When the Supreme Court established a commission to thoroughly review the state’s judicial conduct system, PMC issued its own set of recommendations, which diverged on some key points.
The group, which is not connected to any bar association or government commission, is also a proponent of merit selection for state judges, as opposed to judicial elections. It has signed off on a couple amicus briefs on a national level over the years, but Goodman said the organization wants to project advocacy, not litigation.
“I think the work PMC does is critical,” Goodman said.
She pointed to a 2010 poll that showed 93 percent of respondents wanted to at least vote on the issue of judicial elections versus merit selection. Regardless of where they stood (about 60 percent would have voted to amend the state Constitution in favor of merit selection, Goodman said), Goodman said that poll was a good indicator that the people want to reform their courts.
“Clearly, the public opinion is shifting in favor of reform,” Goodman said. “We’ve been of the position of, you know, give them the chance.”
“We’re willing to bet on the people,” she added.