Local Government TV

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Lehigh County Bar Pans Two Judicial Candidates

In Northampton County, there is one judicial opening this year. District Attorney John Morganelli is running against District Attorney John Morganelli. That should be a very dirty race. Morganelli claims to have a lot of dirt on Morganelli, but I refuse to roll around in the mud. Meanwhile, over in Lehigh County, seven lawyers seek one judgeship. The Lehigh County Bar Association, in its infinite wisdom, has rated two as "not qualified." Those bluebloods are full of shit.

To say someone is "not qualified" for a particular office should mean that this person fails to meet the statutory requirements. That would mean, therefore, that two of the individuals seeking an ascent into the judicial heavens either live outside of Lehigh County or have no license to practice law. But Jared J. Hanna and Ricahrd O. Santiago, the two lawyers panned, meet these prerequisites. It therefore logically follows that they are, in fact, qualified.

The Bar Association, which is made up of lawyers who must have seen a dictionary once or twice, should look up the word. Instead of saying "not qualified," it would be more accurate to say that these two lawyers are "not recommended."

And why is that, you might ask. They don't tell you.

Is it because Hanna is too Syrian or Santiago too Latin? Is it because they do not share the same country club memberships as the bluebloods?

No one is saying. In fact, the Bar Association fails to even identify the lawyers who ranked these candidates. Maybe someone should rank them.

Like it or not, it is the people who will decide on the next Lehigh County judge, not some stuffed shirts who apparently have no understanding of the English language.

Maybe they're Syrian, too. Or worse, Latin.

But I doubt it.

Hanna, incidentally, is the son of Lehigh County's Sheriff. Santiago is a Magisterial District judge.


  1. Is anyone out there serving the people and not themselves. I thought lawyers studied Latin. They should love themselves some Latin.

  2. Race right away.

  3. Lawyers are fine people. There must be a perfectly good reason for this.

  4. The Lehigh Bar- " Soon the rats will eat each other"

  5. Is Don Russo running for Judge?

  6. Is Don Russo running for Judge?

    No, he's just another disgraced former op-ed writer for the Morning Democrat.

  7. And Hanna is a member of the Mann Mafia.

  8. 8:21 - I don't think so.

    If you're going to make that smear, you better give the facts to back it up.

  9. Bernie -

    A rare post where I agree almost 100%, both on the reason for the rankings and the terminology being wrong.

    The terminology is particularly troubling. I find it to be terribly misleading, which I'm sure is the intention behind it.

    While I'd like to believe the Bar Association would recognize this and change the terminology on their own, the reality is that it's likely foolhardy to expect a group of lawyers to behave ethically. Plus, I doubt even the good lawyers would want to rock the boat.

    It will likely take a lawsuit from one of the candidates affected (in this election or prior ones) for that change to happen. And good luck finding a judge (who likely benefitted from such rankings) to rule against the Association.

    It's things like this that make people question the ethics of lawyers, judges and the entire legal system, and the irony is that it's their own association that's doing it.

  10. Agree with 8:44 regarding terminology. "Qualified" is probably the wrong word. "Experienced" would have been the better word.

    Santiago is 34 and has little or no experience as a trial attorney and ran for MDJ for a job.

    Hanna is 30 years old and has only been practicing 4 years.

    Compared to the other candidates, they lack experience.

    If you come before a judge, you should expect that they are experienced practitioners of the law. Neither of these guys even has a civil case under their name on the Lehigh County Docket.

  11. Totally off topic, but I wanted to bring it up.

    The Allentown School District has admitted to overspending their budget. The local "newspaper" has done its best to cover that up by calling it "under-budgeting", but the reality is that the District - and its Board - overspent the budget that they legally passed last year.

    Isn't overspending the budget illegal? Where is our politically-active Auditor General, or the state Attorney General? The state gave a huge amount of additional funding to the ASD last year that was to balance the budget that was legally passed. Now we learn that the school district blew through that money as well.

    The district has a new Supervisor, who apparently doesn't understand the most fundamental aspect of a budget (that you can't overspend it). The District is trying to borrow MILLIONS just to pay for operating expenses (this year and next). School Board members are running for mayor and city council, presumably do for the city what they've done for the District.

    And what are our the city's state legislators doing, other than trying to pack the Allentown School District board with their staff members and cronies?

    And while on the subject of Legislative staff members serving on municipal and school Boards, something should be done about that. It's an inherent conflict of interest, given that the state provides huge amounts of funding to local governments and school districts. Who do these staffers represent? The voters or the elected officials at the state level upon whom the staffers full-time employment is dependent on? Are they being placed there to provide cover for the actions or inactions of their legislator bosses?

    These are issues that should be addressed before the state commits ANY more money to the district.

    1. Budget overspending illegal. Oh that is funny. Thanks 🙏 for the Friday funnie. Have a great weekend LOL

  12. 8:57 -

    I prefer Bernie's terms of "recommended" (along with "not recommended", and "highly recommended"), since it's a better representation of what the Association is actually doing.

    That said, even "Experienced" is better than what they have now.

  13. Vote for the American!

  14. 8:57 - Not to completely disagree with you, but i will point out:

    1. It is common place for judges whom are elected to have never actually practiced law. There are a few in both Northampton and Lehigh County who would fit this description.

    2. Attorney Hanna is an Assistant District Attorney, he likely wouldn't have his name on a civil docket. As a consequence of his job, he is in court more often than most of the judges sitting on benches in either county (apart from former PD's and DA's) have been combined.

  15. I am waiting for some 'Fruitloop' to emerge from the shadows to make the point for appointed judges.This comes up every few years to take more power from the people

  16. Before commenting on factors such as race, I think it is more important to do your homework on the candidates and their body of work. I am more appalled by the fact that a candidate who has never actually tried a case, received the exceptionally well qualified rating. Curiously, Cohen was also the past president of the Bar Association.

    One of his representatives came to speak with me but could not provide any real evidence of how he is the best candidate other than saying he is experienced.

    Santiago came to the house and did confirm that he has never tried a case or had any motions in the Court of Common Pleas.

    Jared Hanna also misrepresented his qualifications with the 1000’s of cases he handled in four years. He spoke more about his father the sheriff.

    Anna Morffi Marks is Cuban and Dominican if I remember right said she has over ten years experience as a prosecutor, specializing in SVU cases. She also is fluent in Spanish, which Santiago is not.

    The other three candidates have not come to the door yet.

  17. "And what are our the city's state legislators doing, other than trying to pack the Allentown School District board with their staff members and cronies?"

    Great Question!! What are Pat Browne, Mike Schlossberg and Peter Schweyer doing to address the huge problem that a failing ASD will have on their constituents?? Browne was able to put together an innovative taxing plan for his crony friend JB Reilly to help revitalize center city but he can't come up with a similar innovative tax scheme for ASD? Why do 5 and 6 unit apartment buildings in center city (owned by suburban slumlords) pay less school tax than a single family dwelling in the mid west end? Why can't these elected officials come up with an educational impact fee to be paid for each dwelling unit (including 1 fee for single family dwelling units), with a subsequent reduction in property tax for all properties in the city? We know that rental units generate upwards of 75% or more of the students in Allentown. This is a unique dynamic that calls for creativity in paying for public education. Relying on an out-moded, antiquated property tax model in Allentown is insane and it drives out more and more homeowners in the City every year.

  18. Bernie will there be some sort of the Hamilton Hanna herion herpie now be delivered court side instead of just pool side in lehighcounty too? Than when will sheirff joe be getting some unwed undivorced under black skirt action like his predicessor that was sheirffs for life in the county?
    We wouldn't want to open junior deputy sheriff spans tenure of cover or the beans would spill out many of asses just like Sandusky Penn State pedophilia examples!

    1. Can you please retype this in English?

  19. God, last thing we need in law is more lawyers right?

    I don't think you know what 'qualified' means. It's not just statutory minimums, it's people with good credentials and history.

    >Doesn't understand something
    >Plays race card

    I would reevaluate your information before publishing but hey, you want to be media, why start checking for the truth now eh?

  20. I'll be the fruitloop, Huck. Elected judgeships are idiotic. Judges shouldn't be subject to the same political forces as elected officials. They should be neutral arbiters of the law, making a goodfaith effort to officiating legal disputes based on the facts of the law and each particular case. That way each and every one of us can get a fair shake, including people on the wrong end of a political issue.

  21. anon 2:10, that makes no sense. I redd your comments and question your sanity. The downtown circus needs clowns on Hamilton street. Interested?

  22. refer to 2:10.

  23. Three Pryor, I redd your comments and aftermath jiZZ is spewing on Bernies blog as you and yours are still rolling on the floors frothing jiZZ! Just go with one of this topix brothers and Jimmy on the back of Pete's places toilet and sniff some more coke to add to the ills possessed.
    humanist by design new contestants needed

  24. You ever herd of that damm media man and it's incessant grammar policing and than there's goggle spell pecker checker like bedlums Y incident, both are like one in the same?

  25. It has been my experience that Pennsylvania's appeals judges are political.I find that the bar association,A.C.L.U. and The League of Woman Voters are also political organizations and they would bear weight in any appointed judge system.Keep it the people'S choice

  26. Hey Bernie, the voting machine crazy's will be at the Northampton County courthouse tonight. You going to cover the protest?

  27. Anon 1:08 -

    You're missing the point!

    You can talk about how to shift the cost all you want but it won't matter until the ASD is able to control their SPENDING. Otherwise, you're just ignoring the real problem, and it will be right back at the doorstep of homeowners soon enough.

    The ASD has passed max tax hikes every year in recent memory, plus has gotten "bonus" money from the state each year. And they're still overspending their budget - which is illegal!!!!!

    I hate to impugn drunken sailors, but you wouldn't give drunken sailors more booze - or money to buy more booze. We need to cut the ASD off.

  28. Santiago's first name is Rashid,not Richard...

  29. @May 1, 2019 at 11:58 AM, FYI: Cohen has tried many cases.
    Sincerely, Zac Cohen

  30. First of all, I dont think the Lehigh County Bar can recommend/endorse anyone...hence the carefully chosen words of qualified.

    Secondly, the attack on the process, inferring a bias against Syrians and "Latins", is flawed. Morfi-Marks is 100% "Latin" and wasn't deemed unqualified.

    What say you to these two points?

    Lastly, I find it offensive that Latins (your choice of words) be used to group everyone south of the border. Every Central/Southern, or caribean country has their own culture and history, yet simply share the tounge of their mother country (typically Spain, Portugal, or France).

    Candidates, like Morfi, stand out based on their dedication to the profession, their trial and courtroom experience, and the reputation they have built over many years of practice. Maybe that is the true reason the other two opinions were 'not qualifiied'. One is a rookie lawyer with daddy's name recognition, and the other may be less known.

  31. Me. Cohen, glad that you are able to clarify the answer that your campaigner could not, that you tried many cases. Providing a little bit more detail for the educated voters would be beneficial. With the exceptionally qualified rating from the Bar, I assumed I would easily find a lot of information on your body of work and why you should be the choice for Lehigh County residents. When googling you, the only thing that really can be found is that you successfully defended the NIZ against the Allentown School District, who were hoping to receive their due taxes from the NIZ properties. Unfortunately for them, I guess all that money went back into other people’s pockets.

  32. https://www.mcall.com/news/education/mc-nws-allentown-school-district-state-takeover-20190505-e4rboqwp4jgifg47vmhru5ppjq-story.html


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