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Prepared By: _Tamika Washington____ Phone/Email:

Campaign Manager: __________________ Phone/Email:______________________________

Candidate Name: ___Tamika Washington____________________________________________

Campaign Address: __ _______________________________

Campaign Email: Campaign Website:

I, ____/s/ Tamika Washington___________, 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 to and 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.

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 Elections:

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.
Thank you for taking the time to complete our questionnaire, and we look forward to your
response. The members and supporters of the JAT include:
Reclaim Philadelphia
215 People's Alliance
Philadelphia Bail Fund
Philadelphia Community Bail Fund
Youth Art and Self-Empowerment Project
Amistad Law Project
Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (CADBI)
ICE out of Courts
Free the Ballot
One PA
Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks
Abolitionist Law Center
Democratic First Ward
#No215Jail Coalition


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

My top three priorities if I am elected judge are:

1) To improve our system of justice by a faithful commitment to applying the facts of

each case to the law, and following the precedents of higher courts in a nonpartisan


2) To address the culture of nepotism, mistrust and racial tensions in the courts as

documented by the 2018 CURE study;

3) To ensure that parties who appear before me are confident that I would administer

justice fairly, and perform my duties in a manner that ensures that each litigant, no matter

their race, sex, identity or beliefs, will receive a fair trial.

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

should be addressed?

Implicit bias plays a staggering role in society-at-large, and courts are affected by the

surrounding society. One of the challenges our courts face is that implicit bias is an

unconscious association about a social group, so the individual is not even aware that the

bias exists. Often, the outcome of a case can be marred because the judge already has

preconceived notions about the litigants who appear before them, or does not understand

their viewpoints, and thus cannot give an impartial decision. As a result, the first step is

for each and every one of us to look introspectively at these associations and bring

awareness to views we may not initially realize are present. Secondly, it is essential that

continuing judicial education include training which highlights and does not reduce the

value of diversity in the courts.

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?

Everyone who comes into contact with my courtroom will understand that racist or sexist

behavior is not to be tolerated. First and foremost, protocols regarding appropriate

conduct within the courtroom, in chambers or during online interactions will be set. I

will ensure that litigants and my courtroom staff understand that they can feel free to

disclose any inappropriate behavior, with the confidence that it will be immediately

addressed. The court would have to engage an impartial third party or group to address

these matters.
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?

It is a fundamental breach of societal trust when the very persons tasked with enforcing

the law and protecting our citizens instead abuse their power. The courts can address this

issue by ensuring that police officers who have committed such breaches of public trust

are given a full and fair trial, and if found guilty, punished in the same manner in which

crimes in the larger society are punished.

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


Judges do not have a say with regard to the PPD budget, as this is left up to legislators.

Some of the unnecessary overtime was attributed to when defendants were not brought

down from custody in order for trials to proceed. Better communications between

courtrooms, courtroom liaisons, the Sheriff and police departments, particularly in light

of more remote hearings during the COVID-19 pandemic, can reduce significantly the

several hours in overtime many officers accrue.

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.

Our criminal justice system, if applied equally and fairly, could work, though there are

aspects that should be improved upon so that minority communities are not

disproportionately impacted.

a) The current bail system must be improved. Many non-violent offenders may sit in jail

for several months, awaiting trial, because they cannot afford bail.

b) Consistent assessment of defendants for diversion programs to possibly keep them out

of jail. If a defendant receives the treatment or community resources that are needed, it

could reduce the likelihood of them being imprisoned or facing re-arrest.

c) Ensuring that each defendant receives a fair trial without regard to race, sex, identity or


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

support successful community re-entry?

One of the problems individuals face upon re-entry is finding gainful employment,

housing and community support. If I serve in criminal court, I strive to:

a) require those entering the community from incarceration, when available, to enter a job

or skills program which also allows them to locate suitable housing.

b) request input from professionals on how trauma affects many defendants in the

criminal justice system, and consider their recommendations when rendering sentences or

options for treatment.

c) inquire regarding sources of the individual’s family/friend support.

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.

I know a number of people that have been incarcerated. I am acutely aware of the

impact incarceration has on defendants, families, and their finances for generations. It is

critical that a judge applies the facts of the case to the law, and balances that with the

mitigating circumstances allowed under the law. A judge could also consider the likely

outcome of incarceration along with the nature of the crime, for example, whether a non-

violent offender with family support would lose his home if he is imprisoned.

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?

While this is a significant problem in our city, each case has its own set of circumstances.

Each individual held in custody should have a hearing as soon as possible before a judge

to determine whether the individual should be in custody or released.

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


Judges can refer defendants to treatment programs if they qualify, but indeed the

programs can be expanded and protected through funding and/or legislation. I would

follow the law with regard to the Third Circuit’s decision.

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?

When faced with whether to place a child in foster care, a judge has to weigh the

likelihood of harm if the child remains in the home with the likelihood of placing the

child into unfamiliar surroundings and more serious potential harm long-term. Where a

child has been placed unnecessarily, the long-term effects of foster care on the child and

affected family can be traumatic and cause an inability to form close relationships,

homelessness, and a myriad of other long-term issues. Judges should ensure prior to

removal that it is indeed absolutely necessary to remove the child from the home. As a

judge, I would strive to make a detailed inquiry as to the reasons for the recommendation
to remove the child, and allow a full and fair hearing to allow all parties to be heard. It is

also essential to inquire if there are less restrictive alternatives, such as kinship care, so

that a relative can care for the child.

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

a custody matter?

I would have to look at the circumstances of the individual cases before me. Every set of

facts is different. What is most important is whether a particular parent's drug history or

criminal record affects how the parent cares for 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 several persons subject to domestic violence. I worked for Women Against

Abuse and in Family Court, where I helped domestic violence victims obtain Protection

from Abuse Orders. The court should be aware of the range of emotions that often

surface during these hearings. The court should understand that victims of domestic

violence are taking a risk by bringing these allegations to court. The courts should

continue to structure their waiting areas to promote the safety of litigants, and should

consider the above factors when hearing testimony.

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?

I cannot state how I would rule in a particular case. I would have to assess the facts and

apply them to the law in order to make a proper decision. However, in general, the court

should want litigants to be free to appear in court without fear of immigration


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, I know several people who were undocumented in the past. Undocumented

individuals are no different than documented individuals—they have similar hopes and

dreams of making their lives better for themselves and their families. They are

contributing members to our society and are to be treated as such. As a judge, I would

comply with the applicable laws. If there is room for discretion, I would look at the facts

and circumstances of each case to render a decision.

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?
Judges are allowed to request input from professionals on how trauma affects many

defendants in the criminal justice system. From there, a judge can then consider the

recommendations when rendering sentences or options for treatment. Each case has its

own set of facts, so there would be a number of resources for me to consider when

sentencing, and I would pay special attention to the ones that seek to reduce trauma.

Often, recidivism can be reduced if trauma is addressed. I have seen a number of

alternatives, but Dawn’s Court, which is designed for defendants with a history of drug

and prostitution offenses, has a 70 per cent (%) graduate success rate, and it has recently

received a federal grant. Dawn’s Court, like the Philadelphia Treatment Court, has kept

communities safer by reducing repeat offenders, and has lessened the burden on

taxpayers paying to keep minor offenders in jail.

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?

I would look at the facts of each case and apply the law to render a decision. It is

notable, however, that the U. S. Supreme Court has found in a number of cases that there

are marked differences between children and adults, including lack of culpability (ability

to take responsibility for one’s actions), lack of full maturity, and greater likelihood of

rehabilitation. It is well documented that children in adult prisons are subject to isolation
and/or severe physical and emotional trauma. These cannot be ignored by a judge faced

with this decision.

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?

Although evictions are handled in Municipal Court, judges must apply the facts to the

law before evicting someone from their home. In order to support the implementation of

the Right to Counsel legislation, the Court can expand the program to landlord-tenant

court to ensure that the parties are fairly represented. Additionally, the Mortgage

Foreclosure Diversion Program has been helpful to curb the effects of foreclosure on

individuals and their families.

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 am close to someone who has been foreclosed on. I have represented clients pro
bono whose property rights were in jeopardy. I am aware of the impact these occurrences

have on one’s life, from losing one’s home and possessions, to an inability to keep stable

employment due to homelessness, to possibly loss of custody of one’s children or

inability to care for a relative.

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?

At this time, this is a legislative issue that is still developing. It is my understanding that

groups like Community Legal Services are advocating for policy changes that would

include sealing of eviction records, and expunging records after a tenant has satisfied a

payment arrangement.

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

No, I am not a landlord.

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 must ensure that all rules are followed including notice rules, rules of evidence

and statutes of limitations. Additionally, if the court cannot ensure that a party is

represented by counsel, the court should exercise patience and care with unrepresented

defendants to ensure that all parties are adequately heard.

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


By the time this issue gets before a judge, the agreement with the company has already

been made, along with an allegation that the debtor has defaulted on the agreement. As

an attorney, I am aware of the disproportionate rate these kinds of judgments have on

Black neighborhoods. As a judge, I would ensure that, when possible, all parties are

adequately represented, that procedural rules are followed, and that the applicable laws

are applied fairly, no matter who the litigants are.

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?

I will continue to educate our city’s students about the courts as I have done with Temple
Law Education and Participation (LEAP) and the Pennsylvania Bar Law Related

Education Committee. As much of the information produced during court hearings is

sensitive, and is at risk of being recorded, measures taken to make courts more

transparent ought to take this into account. I would instead work to organize workshops

where the public can be educated on such topics as court rules and protocol, and simple

court terminology. I would be available for multiple-participant conversations so that we

can have constructive discussions on how to improve the manner in which justice is


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 values that I have expressed during my campaign are no different than the ones I

have held during my personal and professional life. I have served the community with

respect and integrity for the past two decades. I would be open to multiple-participant

conversations with the community so that we can have constructive discussions on how

to improve the administration of justice.

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