April 17–Candidates for Berks County judge answered questions about their background and issues relevant to the office during a Tuesday forum sponsored by the Berks League of Women Voters on Berks Community Television.
The candidates are: Patrick Barrett, 53, Maidencreek Township; Mahlon Boyer, 35, Exeter Township; Madelyn Fudeman, 56, Cumru Township; Eleni Dimitriou Geishauser, 42, Exeter Township; M. Theresa Johnson, 47, Brecknock Township; John Muir, 45, Lower Heidelberg Township; and Jim Smith, 43, Richmond Township.
Candidate Peter S. Schiaroli, 53, of Reading did not participate.
Johnson is first assistant district attorney. The others are in private practice.
All candidates are cross-filed on the Republican and Democratic tickets in the May 21 primary election. Two judgeships are up for election, so two candidates will be chosen in each party. Voters will elect the two judges in the Nov. 5 election.
Judges serve 10-year terms, then are subject to a retention vote in a general election.
The current annual salary is $173,271.
These are some of the questions posed by moderator Renee Dietrich and home viewers and a summary of their responses.
What would you do to reduce crime?
All candidates said they would support putting violent criminals in prison, and divert those capable of being rehabilitated into diversionary programs. Fudeman said she also would move cases to resolution quickly. Geishauser said she also would be fair and impartial and make sure the law is followed. Muir said he would follow sentencing guidelines.
Do you support working mothers?
All candidates said they would. Johnson said she also would support working fathers. Smith said he would support working mothers and fathers and unemployed mothers and fathers.
Do you represent ordinary people or large corporations or organizations?
Geishauser and Smith said real people. Barrett, Boyer, Fudeman and Johnson said both. Muir said he represents small and large businesses and volunteer organizations, and all involve real people.
Do you believe experience in criminal defense is as important as experience in prosecuting cases?
Barrett and Boyer said that is not necessary because the issues and elements are the same no matter which side the attorney represents. Fudeman, Geishauser, Muir and Smith said all experience is important. Johnson and Muir said a judge needs to understand both sides.
Are you involved in community service?
All candidates said they are involved.
What would you do to prevent the type of corruption that has occurred in this state?
Barrett and Fudeman said the answer is electing a judge who is a person of honesty and integrity. Johnson said she would support background checks. Boyer said character and who a person is also are important. Muir said he would support background checks and electing judges with integrity. Smith said he would be guided by the belief that the way he reached a result is as important as the result itself. Geishauser said she would repeatedly remind herself that people judge the entire judicial system by what goes on in a courtroom.
Boyer is not soliciting contributions for his campaign. An article in Tuesday’s Reading Eagle incorrectly stated that he is not accepting contributions.
Contact Mary Young: 610-478-6292 or email@example.com.