About Me

Family: Kathleen and I have been married for 32 years. She teaches in the College of Education at Penn State University. We have two children – Matthew and Shannon, who both graduated from State College Area High School and from Penn State. Matthew and his lovely wife, Carolyn, are attorneys in Washington, D.C. Shannon works for a public relations firm, also in Washington, D.C. She and her fiancée, Aaron, will marry in September. My parents live in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Where I grew up and have lived: I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. Shortly after college, I moved to Pittsburgh, but also spent three years in Vermont. My family and I moved from Pittsburgh to State College in 1997.

Education: I have a B.A. in political science from Vassar College. I earned my law degree cum laude from Vermont Law School. After practicing law for 12 years, I attended Penn State and received a master’s degree and doctorate in geography. In 2000, I was trained as a mediator at the Friends’ Center in Philadelphia.

Work Experience: I have worked as a litigating attorney for the Allegheny County Public Defender’s Office, for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and as a sole practitioner. I also spent four years as an assistant professor of legal writing at Penn State’s Law School, and have served as an adjunct professor at Penn State, teaching both geography and public speaking. I was elected as a Magisterial District Judge in 2013.

Publications: I have published four legal articles (relating to flood liability, sufficiency of criminal charges, evidentiary practice in the Magisterial District Courts, and criminal preliminary hearings). I have also published several book reviews concerned with environmental sustainability and an article pertaining to high school debate. From 2011 to 2013, I wrote a monthly political column in the Centre Daily Times.

Public Service: Currently, I am a member of the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Judicial Administration Committee and the Centre County Criminal Justice Advisory Board. I serve as Vice-Chair of the Sierra Club’s Moshannon Group, and was previously on the Board of Voices of Central Pennsylvania. From 2005 to 2015, I coached mock trial and debate at State College Area High School, and now I am the Region 4 Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s annual Mock Trial Competition. I also frequently serve as a mock trial judge for the state high school competition and for Penn State’s Mock Trial Club. I have led national environmental service trips (usually trail maintenance backpacking trips) for the Sierra Club since 1987. After over 20 years in State College, I enjoy giving back to the community where I raised my children. Here are some other places where I regularly volunteer: AAUW’s annual book sale, First Night State College, Tussey Mountainback Ultramarathon, Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, and Schlow Library. Formerly, I served as a mediator for the Center for Alternatives in Community Justice.