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Making a difference motivates Crawford in bid for judgeship

| Sunday, May 5, 2013, 11:58 p.m.
Rosemary Crawford, an attorney from Hampton and candidate for Allegheny County Common Pleas judge.

Rosemary Crawford recalls the moment she began thinking about becoming a judge.

She was 6 years old in Mississippi when her mother, a school teacher, moved so that her young daughter and six other black children could integrate a school, which required a judge's order.

“It always stuck in my head that judges do things that can make a difference,” said Crawford, 49, of Hampton.

Crawford is the only black woman among 13 candidates for Allegheny County Common Pleas judge. She vowed to fight intolerance from the bench, but said race plays no role in her campaign.

“Race and gender does not set who will be fair,” she told the Tribune-Review.

Crawford handles mostly civil litigation, product liability cases and employment law. She hears Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases as a trustee.

“I see people at their worst. I know this is not their best day,” she said of deciding which assets someone can keep and what must be sold to pay bills. “I treat them with respect. I would want somebody to treat me like that.”

She wants to continue years of public service that began with a role as legal resource director for the YWCA, where she helped people find free legal service.

“Commitment to community is paramount,” she said.

On the issues:

What's the top issue facing the court? “In juvenile court, part of it is time management. It's hard to keep schedules and be there when the case is not moving along.”

How do you keep political donations by lawyers from affecting decisions from the bench? “I have a chair and a treasurer and they handle (donations). That's the way. I'm not really part of it.”

Should judges hire family members? “You should hire someone who's qualified, experienced and can get the work done.”

David Conti is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-388-5802 or dconti@tribweb.com.

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