Satler says trial experience makes her case for judicial post

David Conti
| Friday, May 10, 2013, 10:43 p.m.

Jennifer Satler has several answers for the people who ask if she's too young to be a judge.

“I'm the only candidate who can serve three full terms if elected,” said Satler, 38, of the North Side, who is running for a 10-year term as Allegheny County judge. Common Pleas judges face retirement at age 70. “So I would be a smart investment.”

Satler says compared to the other 12 candidates, she has unique experiences in court that overcome any age concerns.

“A judge of trial law should be an individual who has been a trial lawyer,” said Satler, who spent seven years in the county Public Defender's Office before moving to private practice and becoming an adjunct professor in 2007. A Pittsburgh native, she is married to city homicide Detective George Satler.

Her years in court taught her she wants to be a no-nonsense judge.

“This is probably one of the most important days in the lives of the litigants when they're in court,” she said. “It's not a day at the office for these people.”

Satler said she can see both sides of a case because of her time defending criminal suspects while being married to a police officer.

She said she doesn't know if her age played a role in the county Bar Association not recommending her for judge because it doesn't explain its decisions. A list of endorsements, topped by the Labor Council and Democratic Committee, show her support, she said.

“They feel right now I am the best candidate,” she said.

On the issues:

What's the top issue facing the court? “A lack of efficiency. There's a lot of overtime being paid to our police officers for time they have to go down there and sit there waiting for cases.”

How do you keep political donations by lawyers from affecting decisions from the bench? “It's not something that would influence me. That has no place, obviously, on the bench.”

Should judges hire family members? “I believe that the most qualified people for any job should be the ones hired.”

David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or dconti@tribweb.com.

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