Diane Thompson is running for Municipal Court Judge. She was a member of former quizzo squad Team Hater, so I knew she was good people. I asked her a few questions about the position and why she’s running:
1. What exactly are the duties of a municipal court judge?
Municipal Court, criminal division, is the court of original jurisdiction for nearly all preliminary hearings for felonies and homicides (cases involving juvenile victims are heard in juvenile court by Common Pleas judges.) MC judges hold trials for all misdemeanor criminal cases (crimes with punishments up to 5 years in jail, such as simple assault, terroristic threats, harassment, retail theft, dui, etc.) They also hear private criminal complaints. Civil division judges hear landlord – tenant cases, tax appeal cases, small claims up to $10,000, real estate tax cases, etc. MC judges work at the Criminal Justice Center at 1301 Filbert Street, at Municipal Court at 34 S. 11th Street, or at the individual police districts, such as 55th & Pine or Broad and Champlost.
2. Why are you interested in the position?
I like helping people. Many people who appear in Muncipal Court have no attorneys. (Defendants are appointed attorneys in criminal court, however.) Litigants want judges who know how to listen to their cases. I know how to listen. I believe that I have some ideas to alleviate the back log of cases. I would like to initiate more programs in MC court that would help with the non-violent drug crimes. Also, domestic violence cases are a big part of MC court. I have represented both victims and defendants in domestic violence cases and I believe that intervention is key to preventing more violence.
3. Why should people vote for you?
I believe that the voters of Philadelphia should vote for me for the following reasons (Push #33):
– I am qualified. I have represented more than 800 defendants in Municipal Court criminal cases, plus I have represented more than 500 defendants in Common Pleas Court cases, in both criminal and civil matters. I have also participated in panels for continuing legal education teaching the Municipal Court system to attorneys.
– I am committed. I will work hard to make the changes that I believe can be made in this system, while protecting both victims’ and defendants’ rights.
– I listen. As a former teacher and wife of Harvey for nearly 37 years, I have learned to listen and I can “listen between the lines.”
– My slogan is: “Courage to Care.” We have been residing in Olney for 29 years and have seen the changes that can devastate neighborhoods. We stayed in Olney because we care about our community. I believe a judge of the people needs to know people and needs to live among people, and not in a fancy high rise apartment far from the madding crowd.
4. If I decide to come out and endorse you officially, can i stay at your beach house anytime i want to this summer?
You are welcome to come to the beach any time except between June 7 and August 5th. In fact, we are having a “work weekend” (there’s always work to do) on May 18 and 19. Come on down. Miranda and Alberto are coming with the baby.