Ward wants chance to make difference in family court
Bill Ward heard from fellow lawyers about the despair they encounter in family court.
“I sensed on the juvenile court side there was dysfunction, but I had no idea the depth — among the families,” said Ward, 61, of Mt. Lebanon, a candidate for Allegheny County judge who joined the bench last year when Republican Gov. Tom Corbett appointed him to fill a vacancy.
“Most of my career I've spent in the criminal justice system. The biggest surprise for me was the level of dysfunction and despair,” Ward told the Tribune-Review.
He said in his first week in juvenile court he took a child away from an 18-year-old mother who is a dependent of the state, and gave custody to the father, who also was 18 and a dependent.
“But I have a chance to make a difference,” said Ward, a Republican who broke up political service in Corbett's office and on the state Board of Probation and Parole with years of trial experience. He is one of 13 candidates for Common Pleas judge.
In less than a year on the bench, Ward has followed two pursuits about which he is passionate. The father of an autistic son, Ward is working with officials to develop a statewide strategy for dealing with children with behavioral issues in the criminal justice system.
He also volunteers to hear cases in the county's Veterans Court program once a week. His nephew, who recently returned from Afghanistan, and his father and brother are veterans.
“It's my way of acknowledging them,” Ward said.
On the issues:
What's the top issue facing the court? “In the Family Division, we have huge numbers of cases, but we're getting the job done. Other divisions have to deal with delays, particularly the Civil Division.”
How do you keep political donations by lawyers from affecting decisions from the bench? “I don't know the amount of those donations.”
Should judges hire family members? “I am opposed to the hiring of family members in court.”
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.
- Former youth volunteer facing federal child pornography charges
- 6 shot at Clairton speakeasy; police seek suspects
- Youngsters embrace technology that combines art, software in 3D printing
- Snow removal crews from Pennsylvania hit the road to help Buffalo
- Water main break leaves Millvale dry for several hours
- Blackjacks off the table for Pittsburgh police
- District judge who performed state’s first same-sex wedding looks higher
- Nude photos of Penn Hills High School students spur investigation
- Slain FBI agent Dixon’s legacy lives on in Pittsburgh Field Office, 10K race fundraiser
- Judge: UPMC engaged in unfair labor practices; appeal planned
- WVU frat brothers charged with hazing pledges