Allegheny County Common Pleas Court judge candidate Behrend Ernsberger cites variety of cases handled in court
Barbara Behrend Ernsberger believes in the axiom that justice delayed is justice denied.
While representing people who sued the life insurance industry with consumer fraud complaints, she said attorneys and judges delayed cases for 15 years while arguing over scheduling, evidence and settlement issues.
“My function was to be close to the clients, and it disturbed me to see this going on,” said Ernsberger, 61, of Shadyside, one of 13 candidates for Allegheny County Common Pleas judge.
Ernsberger, a former Pittsburgh Democratic Party chair and Planning Commission member, touts her varied experience in trying cases in civil, family and orphans' court as her qualifications for the bench.
“You need judges that ... have had exposure to a lot of issues,” she told the Tribune-Review.
Through her family-run Downtown firm, Ernsberger says she handled cases of growing importance to average people: fights over wills and power-of-attorney, cases involving veterans or leases with companies looking to drill for gas in the Marcellus shale.
“If you haven't gotten some understanding of that, you're in trouble,” she said of the gas leases.
Ernsberger is a Pittsburgh native who went to work for her family at 12, helping to prepare billing sheets on Saturdays.
On the issues:
What's the top issue facing the court? “The time delays. And in the Family Division, the abundance of custody issues. People need more help than they're getting.”
How do you keep political donations by lawyers from affecting decisions from the bench? “These records are public, and someone can raise concerns if they have them.”
Should judges hire family members? “I don't think that's generally advisable. I think you're better off hiring from outside.”
David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Brady elated over lifted suspension; Steelers fans deflated
- American to halt 2 direct routes from Pittsburgh International
- Asking price for Penguins franchise said to be at a record $750M
- Western Pennsylvania schools’ denial of access to roofers prompts suit
- Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center retiring vaunted Blacklight computer
- Police: Suspect in death of Fineview toddler changed his statements
- Shooting that killed Winchester Thurston grad surprised witnesses
- Sto-Rox High School announces early dismissal because of heat
- Penn Hills man sentenced to 12 ½ to 29 years of prison for voluntary manslaughter
- Pittsburgh pension investment earnings lag behind previous gains
- Police arrest teenager in Hazelwood home invasion