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Prepared By: Judge John R. Padova Jr.


Campaign Manager: Joseph Messa Esq. Phone/Email:

Candidate Name: Judge John R. Padova Jr.

Campaign Address:

Campaign Email:
Campaign Website:

I, ​John R. Padova Jr​., 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 Decarcerate
215 People's Alliance PA
Philadelphia Bail Fund Free the Ballot
Philadelphia Community Bail Fund One PA
Youth Art and Self-Empowerment Project Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks
Amistad Law Project Abolitionist Law Center
Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration Democratic First Ward
(CADBI) #No215Jail Coalition


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

-Expand and strengthen diversion programs as alternatives to incarceration

-Reentry programs – establish and strengthen programs to make connections with

potential employers and ex-offenders along with providing guidance in handling financial

affairs to promote a more successful transition into society

-Implicit bias – establishing programs and training for the judiciary and its staff in

recognizing and overcoming implicit bias.

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

should be addressed?

-Yes. There should be training programs provided to the judiciary and its staff to

recognize implicit bias that exists and how to overcome implicit bias. For instance,

programs provided by Dr. Kimberly Papillon, which I have taken, which focus on

addressing our own bias and bias in others and how to be aware of and work to resolve

the same.
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?

-I would regularly meet with the courtroom staff to impress upon them that there is no

place for racist or sexist behavior in the courtroom. In the event that they come across

this conduct, they are to notify me so the matter can be addressed immediately. Litigants

and personnel engaging in this conduct will be subject to sanctions. Also, provide for

anonymous feedback to encourage more open lines of communication regarding these


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?

-Yes. There are good and bad police officers just as in any other profession. There have

been instances of police misconduct such as witness tampering, violent interrogation,

falsifying evidence, improper stop and frisks which lead to disproportionate convictions

of brown and black individuals. Since misconduct damages the truth-seeking process and

undermines public confidence, police must be held accountable for their misconduct by

the criminal justice system. These officers can be placed on the District Attorney

Office’s “No Call” list where they would be prevented from testifying.

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


-Unfortunately, the courts do not have the authority to allocate funds towards community

programs and there are other ways to address reducing budgets which are not in the

courts purview. However, resolving cases without the need for unnecessary police

overtime and using the funds saved for community programs to keep children and

individuals out of the criminal justice system and for police outreach programs for the

community would be beneficial.

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.

-Certain functions of the criminal system have to be fixed. The criminal justice system

can often put too much emphasis on retribution rather than rehabilitation. For instance,

implicit bias must be addressed and training programs provided to all units in the system.

Diversionary programs should be improved for substance abuse and mental health issues.

Reentry programs which help ex-offenders successfully transition into the community

should be strengthened.

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

support successful community re-entry?

-By improving reentry programs, such programs to train and connect ex-offenders with
employers in the community who will commit to providing jobs for the offender. A

person can file a petition to expunge a criminal record. To shorten the amount of time to

expunge convictions, the legislature would have to amend the statutes.

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.

-Yes. I have and close friends have been incarcerated. I know how it feels to be accused

and have your liberties infringed upon. I know how important it is that law enforcement

has probable cause to stop you. As a judge, I review probable cause issues closely. Also,

I consider the rehabilitative needs and alternatives to incarceration when imposing a


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 this?

-Probation detainers should not be lodged without a judicial warrant which will reduce

people being unnecessarily held in prison.

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


-I recognize that there is an opioid crisis in the community. Diversionary programs in

order to rehabilitate individuals with substance abuse problems are extremely beneficial.

Pursuant to the Judicial Canons of Ethics, as a sitting judge, I am unable to comment on

the legality of the decisions on safe injection sites.

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 this?

-The best interest of the child is of utmost importance for a judge to consider. We should

strive to keep children with their parents, grandparents or family members as opposed to

foster care and avoid the child being moved from foster care family to foster care family.

The reasons to remove a child from the parents and family must be thoroughly reviewed

with exhausting other alternatives geared to keeping children with their family.

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

a custody matter?

-For a criminal record or history, a judge should consider the types of crimes committed

such as whether the crime was a violent or non-violent crime, sex crime, the length of the
convictions, who the victims were and how many crimes the parent committed.

Regarding a parent’s drug history, a judge should consider the number of times the parent

was convicted of drug crimes, whether the parent completed drug programs and was able

to be rehabilitated and if the parent has the drug addiction under control. The best

interests of the child and whether the parent’s drug history or criminal history will place

the child in danger must be considered.

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?

-Yes. Take steps to assure that the victim is properly protected and direct them to seek

help from domestic violence groups with appropriate court follow-up.

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?

-Yes. The law should be applied fairly to non-citizens alike. I would accept immigration

neutral plea agreements as long as they do not violate the law.

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?

-Yes. My wife, a person of color, immigrated to the United States, worked hard and

became a naturalized citizen. Most immigrants are hard working people supporting their

families with a love for this country and should be encouraged to obtain citizenship as

soon as possible. This experience provides me with a frame of reference regarding

whether both citizens and noncitizens are being treated equally.

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?

-I would solicit the help of social service agencies to assist the women in qualifying for

non- incarceration treatment. Avoidance of jail time through diversion programs should

be carefully considered as a preference.

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 prisons?

-No. Incarceration of juveniles in adult jails for the long term leads to recidivism and

deters the rehabilitation needs of the children. The Juvenile system can supervise

children until 21 years old. Children under 18 years old should be adjudicated in the

Juvenile system.
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?

-Administrative judges can issue a moratorium postponing the eviction process as a result

of the Covid-19 pandemic and consider implementing the CDC recommendations in

halting evictions nationally. A judge should make available mediation or settlement

conferences in order to workout eviction issues between landlords and tenants so tenants

can remain in the property. Judges should call upon the bar association and legal aid

programs to provide counsel to unrepresented tenants in these circumstances.

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


-Yes. I have had family members and close friends who were subject to foreclosure and

eviction. I have also served as a Judge pro tempore in the Philadelphia Mortgage

foreclosure program to effectuate solutions to keep families in their homes when faced
with foreclosures. These experiences will help me in understanding and fairly consider

hardship circumstances (like Covid-19) that have affected the ability of the borrower or

tenants to make payments.

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?

-There should be a procedure to review the recording of an eviction filing to review the

mitigating factors and reasons for the filing and to make sure the tenant is not unduly

harmed and a simple procedure implemented for expunging the record.

21. Are you a landlord? If yes, how many rental properties do you own?


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


-The court should make sure the defendants were properly served and put on notice of the

complaint against them in compliance with the rules of civil procedure along with

making sure they have access to adequate representation. The court discourages snap
default judgments and will set aside default judgments to hear the case on its merits.

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


- Be aware of predatory lenders. The disparities should be addressed by closely looking

to see whether the defendant’s due process rights were violated, whether there was proper

service and notice given to the defendant in compliance with the rules of civil procedure.

Also, provide the defendant with an opportunity to set aside the judgment so the case can

be heard on its merits. Studies have shown that judgments entered in these cases in black

neighborhoods have resulted from a lack of compliance with appropriate civil procedure.

There should be programs to educate the community in inappropriate debt collection


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?

- The law in the court belongs to the people. The courts must generally be open to the

public. Court outreach programs would be beneficial in educating the community and

explaining how the court system helps the public which I would look forward in being a

part of.
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?

-The Code of Judicial Conduct applies to the accountability of Judges. The public has

access to hearings and decisions of the judges. Judicial accountability groups like JAT

should be encouraged to view the work of the courts to assure fairness to all. Also, the

retention election provides the public with an avenue to approve or disapprove of the

judge after viewing the judge’s record. The Judiciary can participate in outreach program

in the community.

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