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Prepared By: Judge Cateria R.

McCabe Phone/Email:

Campaign Manager: Maurice Floyd Phone/Email:

Candidate Name: Cateria R. McCabe________________________________

Campaign Address:

Campaign Email:
Campaign Website:

I, Cateria R. McCabe_________________, certify that the information

provided on this questionnaire is accurate and the opinions stated here accurately reflect my own

Please complete, sign and return this via email in Word Doc format on or before February 13,

The Judicial Accountability Table (JAT) is a coalition comprised of Philadelphia community

organizations working to bring more fairness to our courts. The JAT’s platform is available at We’ve written this questionnaire to be
values-driven and focused on the issues most relevant to the people of Philadelphia, and we’ve
made our questions compliant with the Code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.1 We ask
that you use no more than 250 words to respond to each question.
Thank you for taking the time to complete our questionnaire, and we look forward to your

Specifically the following section of 207 Pa. Code § 4.1, Political and Campaign Activities of Magisterial District Judges and
Judicial Candidates in General:
The making of a pledge, promise, or commitment is not dependent upon, or limited to, the use of any specific words or phrases;
instead, the totality of the statement must be examined to determine whether the candidate for judicial office has specifically
undertaken to reach a particular result. Pledges, promises, or commitments must be contrasted with statements or
announcements of personal views on legal, political, or other issues, which are not prohibited. When making such statements, a
magisterial district judge should acknowledge the overarching judicial obligation to apply and uphold the law, without regard to
his or her personal views.

As well as the following section of 207 Pa. Code § 4.2, Political and Campaign Activities of Judicial Candidates in Public

A judge who is a candidate for elective judicial office shall not make any statement that would reasonably be expected to affect
the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or impending in any court.
response. The members and supporters of the JAT include:
Reclaim Philadelphia ICE out of Courts
LILAC DecarceratePA
215 People's Alliance Free the Ballot
Philadelphia Bail Fund One PA
Philadelphia Community Bail Fund Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks
Youth Art and Self-Empowerment Project Abolitionist Law Center
Amistad Law Project Democratic First Ward
Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration #No215Jail Coalition


1. What are your top three priorities if you are elected judge?

A) Be fair B) Improve efficiency of case disposition C) Continuing education

2. Do you feel that implicit bias plays a role in our courts? If so, how do you think it should

be addressed?

Yes, implicit bias plays a role in our courts. Each of us views the world based upon our

lived experiences. Due to this, it is critical that we recognize and acknowledge our biases

so we can actively work to overcome them. This requires us to consider the perspective

of others and how they have experienced the world. To be effective in this, it is necessary

to include implicit bias training as a part of the regular judicial training curriculum.

3. What if anything would you do as a judge to assure that neither your courtroom staff nor

litigants are faced with racist or sexist behavior?

As a judge, I set the tone in my courtroom by the way I treat staff, litigants and attorneys.

Racism and sexism are intolerable. Those who enter my court understand that it is my

expectation that all are treated respectfully. Any aberration, when it is observed would be

handled with immediate action. If not, it could be perceived as acceptable behavior.

4. Do you believe police misconduct is a problem in our criminal justice system? How so?

What role, if any, do the courts have in addressing this issue?

In any system, there is a possibility of misconduct. The police are no different. We have

all seen cases of police misconduct that have made national news. When offenders are

prosecuted, it is important for the public to see that the law has been followed. Failures in

this cause the public to distrust the police as well as the criminal justice system. Those of

us in the courts must ensure that justice is served.

5. In the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other unarmed Black

people by police, Philadelphia protesters have criticized the outsized PPD budget while

communities face massive divestment of resources. A 2019 study from PICA suggested

that the city could save over $7 million by making changes to reduce police court

overtime. What role, if any, do the courts have in addressing this issue?

All public servants have a responsibility to be good stewards of city finances. The courts

can assist in this by starting hearings in a timely manner as well as having a call of the

list. Both would be cost saving measures. Starting on time would alleviate the need for

officers waiting for the judge to arrive. Calling the list would enable the court to give

new hearing dates to cases not proceeding which enables officers to leave court sooner.

6. Do you think our criminal justice system works? Why, or why not? If you think there is

something wrong with how it operates, name three ways you would work to change it as

a judge.

In certain areas our criminal justice system works. A person is presumed innocent until

proven guilty and a defendant has a right to counsel as well as have a jury of their peers.

However, there are systemic issues shown in the areas of racial and socioeconomic
disparities. While it is evident that a judge alone cannot singularly fix these concerns, as

the trier of fact, I can ensure that each person who appears before me is treated fairly. I

also think that judges can encourage the public to participate during community events.

Many people dread receiving a notice for jury duty. Judges can encourage citizens to

engage rather than avoid to ensure the jury pool does reflect peers. Judges can also

encourage the public to observe proceedings. People should know that the reality of court

differs from the popular, entertaining court television.

7. One in three Philadelphians has a criminal record. In your opinion, how can judges

support successful community re-entry?

Successful reentry planning must begin at the date of sentencing. Creative orders that

focus on the success of the returning citizen are paramount. This would include ordering

a plan seeking family and community assistance for the returning citizen. Orders would

outline a plan with the input of the returning citizen.

8. Have you or anyone close to you ever been incarcerated? If yes, please share how it

impacted that person or you, and how it would affect your work as a judge. If no, how do

you take into consideration the impact of the decision to incarcerate someone without

having personal experience.

A friend from church was incarcerated. In addition to the obvious loss of freedom he

needed others to look out for his elderly mother in his absence. Upon release, his job

options were limited due to his incarceration. This has created an ongoing punishment

even after his official punishment has ended. His personal life has also been impacted

due to the judgmental people that he has encountered. I was aware of the plight of

returning citizens before his incarceration however, having someone so close to me

directly impacted provided greater insight. I am dedicated to being impartial.

9. Individuals held on probation detainers account for over 50% of the city’s jail population,

and individuals are often held without signed judicial warrants. What do you think of


Work is needed to reduce Philadelphia’s prison population. Improvement could be

accomplished by implementing a system in which cases are reviewed earlier to determine

if detention is required. Speedier hearings with judicial review would allow defendants to

present evidence to support release.

10. Philadelphia is at the center of the opioid crisis. In order to prevent more deaths,

advocates have worked on harm reduction initiatives including needle exchange

programs, Narcan distribution, and overdose prevention sites. What can judges do to

help expand and protect programs to combat the opioid crisis and continue to reduce

harm? How do you feel about the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit overturning the

lower court’s decision that made safe injection sites in Philadelphia legal?

Sadly, Philadelphia has communities that rival a scene from the AMC show, The Walking

Dead. Judges must follow the law. This issue is better addressed through funding of

treatment programs than the judiciary. To the extent that people are incarcerated, judges

must look at the crime and causation. Where appropriate, diversion programs should be


11. According to a 2019 report from the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform

(NCCPR), Philadelphia now leads the country in removing children and placing them in

foster care. What do you see as the long-term effects of this? What can judges do about

It is well known that removing children from their homes is traumatic. As a family court

judge, it is my job to protect children and preserve families. When placement is

absolutely necessary, the first objective is to place children with kin. Children tend to

thrive and have better outcomes when placed with kin compared to with a stranger. In

furtherance this, court orders should reflect the need for case managers to conduct family

finding. This requires that relatives, friends and others already connected to the family

are sought as placement and/or support options.

12. How would you factor in a parent's drug history or criminal record in dealing with a

custody matter?

A drug or criminal history would be only one of sixteen factors to be considered in a

custody matter. Upon examining the evidence in its entirety, the decision must be made

based on what is in the best interests of the child.

13. Have you experienced or known someone who was subject to domestic violence? What

do you think the court's role should be in intervening in such situations?

I have known and have represented survivors of domestic violence. The court must be

sensitive to the issues that arise in these situations. The judge must listen to the evidence

presented and rule according to the law. Where appropriate, orders can be issued for

programs such as Courdea (formerly Menargy), anger management or healthy


14. Noncitizens may face mandatory deportation if convicted of certain offenses. Do you

think it is appropriate for prosecutors, judges, and criminal defense attorneys to work

together to resolve cases in ways that avoid disproportionate immigration consequences?

Would you accept immigration-neutral plea agreements and/or sentence defendants to

allow them to avoid deportation?

Immigration is very complex. Balancing possible deportation against alleged criminal

conduct must be considered based on the totality of the circumstances. Collaboration,

with parties of varying interests, is critical to reduce negative outcomes. Without the

details of a particular case, it is not prudent to determine whether an immigration-neutral

plea agreement and/or sentence would be appropriate.

15. Do you personally know anyone who is undocumented? If yes, how would this

experience shape your work as a judge? If no, how can you make decisions affecting

undocumented community members without this personal experience?

I do not know for certain that some of the people I know are undocumented. Nonetheless,

one does not have to have personal experience to be aware of issues that undocumented

people face in order to make fair and informed decisions. For this population, like all

others, it is necessary to make non-biased judgements after weighing the facts.

16. 86% of women who enter the Philadelphia courts have experienced some form of trauma,

and this is especially true for Black women. How would such trauma inform your

decision-making as a judge? Would you consider alternatives to incarceration for people

who have experienced trauma, and if so, what types of alternatives? What practices have

you seen used that you appreciate?

In our justice system, it is important to look beyond crime and punishment. Recognizing

mitigating circumstances and how decisions impact the parties before me are important.

It is necessary, to the extent possible, to apply trauma-informed decision making. Being a

trauma informed courtroom will help prevent further trauma. Utilizing the principles of a

trauma informed approach such as safety, empowerment and trustworthiness Philadelphia

has diversion programs that have shown success. Examples include Veterans Court,

WRAP (Working to Restore Adolescents Power) Court well as Project Dawn.

17. Current PA state law allows children under 18 to be prosecuted as adults in some cases,

despite growing efforts locally and nationally to remove children from the adult system.

Do you believe that children should ever be treated legally as adults? Please explain.

What, in your view, are the long-term impacts of incarcerating children in adult jails and


Children should not be prosecuted as adults because they are CHILDREN. However

heinous the crime, we should not lose sight of the fact that the offender is a child and the

case must be treated as such. Juveniles and adults should not merge in the penal system.

I believe the effects are devasting to the child who will not develop normally but be

emotionally scarred and hardened. There may be irreversible psychological damage.

18. According to, in 2016 Philadelphia led the country in eviction rates at

3.84%, 1.14% higher than the national average. Today, as a result of the COVID-19

pandemic, unemployment is at a record high and an even greater eviction and foreclosure

avalanche is looming. Adding to the problem, there is a sharp disparity in representation

between landlords (who are usually represented) and tenants (who are usually

unrepresented) in eviction disputes. What would you do as a judge to stop the eviction

and foreclosure crisis? How can judges support the implementation of the Right to

Counsel legislation to ensure fair representation?

The long-term effects of high eviction include people living in substandard housing, job

loss, poor school performance, homelessness, a drain on the City’s resources and
destabilization of neighborhoods. Judges can help stem this tide by ensuring that

mortgage holders/ landlords have adhered to the tenets of foreclosure laws or the

Landlord and Tenant Act, the Philadelphia Maintenance Code and all provisions required

to provide habitable housing and do business in the City.

Implementation of the Right to Counsel programs would be a collaborative effort

between the court and other stakeholders as was seen in the Philadelphia Eviction

Prevention Project as well as the mortgage foreclosure diversion program.

19. Have you or someone close to you ever been evicted or foreclosed on? If yes, please

explain and describe how this experience would affect your work as a judge. If no, how

would you make decisions that impact the community without this personal experience?

I worked as a tenants’ rights attorney for years at SeniorLAW Center as well as handled

mortgage foreclosure case pro bono for Philadelphia VIP when in private practice. I am

keenly aware of how decisions impact the community without this personal experience.

20. Regardless of whether the landlord or tenant ‘wins’ an eviction case or if the case is

ultimately dismissed, an eviction filing by a landlord leads to a permanent public record

that any future landlord can view online. There are close to 24,000 eviction filings a year

and tenants often have issues renting because of the record. What is the court’s role, if

any, in addressing this obstacle for tenants?

Advocacy on this is issue is underway.

21. Are you a landlord? If yes, how many rental properties do you own? I am not.

22. The majority of consumer debt collection cases are filed by corporate debt buyers against

unrepresented defendants and result in default judgments. What is the role of the
judiciary in ensuring due process for unrepresented defendants in these civil matters?

The judiciary must ensure that the plaintiff is able to prove notice and if successful, the

plaintiff must present sufficient evidence to support the claim.

23. In a 2015 analysis, ProPublica found that the rate of judgments stemming from consumer

debt cases was twice as high in mostly Black neighborhoods as it was in mostly white

ones. What role should the judiciary play in addressing these racial disparities?

As consumer protection cases are brought, the judiciary must shine a bright light on the

evidence and rule accordingly. However, it is important that as leaders in the community,

the judiciary assist in educating the public of their rights and responsibilities concerning

consumer debt law.

24. What role should judges play in making courts more transparent and accessible to

members of the community? What will you commit to do if elected judge?

Judges can educate the public about the various courts, how they work and their roles.

COVID-19 has precluded community events but if elected, I look forward to participation

when the pandemic ends. During those events, in addition to educating, I would

encourage attendees to go to court to see what happens.

25. What avenues will the Philadelphia community have to hold you accountable to the

values that you express during your campaign, if you are elected?

Litigants have the ability to appeal decisions. The community has a most powerful tool,

the ballot.

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