Response to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Article of January 27, 2018
Dear Friends, Supporters, and Constituents,
It recently was brought to my attention that I was featured on the front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this past Saturday. While I have enjoyed the distinct pleasure of appearing in these hallowed pages on several occasions in the past, the honor of Saturday’s article truly was unique. Never before have I been so obliged.
At the same time, I must respectfully request that the Post-Gazette review transcripts to determine whether I actually attempted to sequester a lead investigator, and whether I actually threatened to hold a narcotics detective in contempt for failing or refusing to answer a question on cross-examination.
My recollection is different or more nuanced. For example, I am fairly certain that the latter case proceeded weeks ago and not this past Thursday.
Needless to say, when newspaper articles miss basic facts such as dates, objectivity becomes a question. We start to wonder whether they represent attempts to influence judicial decision-making through political means, which would set dangerous precedent.
Perhaps to some who sit in positions of power and access, my election was a dangerous precedent, as a clear mandate against the system of mass incarceration that they have upheld and thrived upon for decades.
Speaking of mass incarceration, I think there is a legitimate question here: can a District Judge decide 75 cases in less than 4 hours without cutting corners around community safety and the rights of the accused, or sacrificing the legitimacy of the rule of law in the eyes of the public? Can our high case volume framework and well-established principles of Procedural Justice coexist?
Certainly, it advances Procedural Justice when court appointments last less than an hour. This is a goal I share. In addition, I will continue to refine my knowledge of the law, nurture my judicial temperament, and render decisions independent of political influence. As much of an honor as it may be, press coverage holds no weight whatsoever in my judicial decision-making.
Very Truly Yours,