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Allegheny Common Pleas judge candidate Daffner tries to avoid politics

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Marc Daffner

Age: 44

Residence: Green Tree

Family: Wife, daughter and a child on the way at press time.

Education: Bachelor's degree, University of Rochester; law degree, University of Pittsburgh.

Background: Founder and managing attorney at Daffner & Associates, Downtown; arbitrator and civil litigator for 20 years.

County Bar Association rating: Not recommended at this time.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Marc Daffner says he once carried around the rejection letter he got 20 years ago from the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office so he could show it to prosecutors when he won a case against them in court.

The law is about being fair, not making friends, he said. He wants to bring that philosophy to the bench.

“You're a judge to make decisions, not make people happy,” said Daffner, 44, of Green Tree, one of 13 candidates for Common Pleas judge. “These people who are politicians before being judges, they have trouble with that.”

Daffner told the Tribune-Review he'd rather avoid the political side of running for judge. He said he isn't dissuaded by the three Democratic Committee endorsements he did not get or his rating from the county Bar Association: not recommended at this time.

“I can't spend my time worrying about them,” he said, calling the judicial committee a small percentage of Bar Association members. “I have other credentials to back it up.”

Daffner said he has defended clients in nearly every type of case in nearly every courthouse in the state.

“I know what I'm doing in court,” he said.

Outside the courtroom, Daffner, a North Carolina native who moved to Mt. Lebanon as a teenager, teaches martial arts and close-quarters combat and is a patron of the opera, where his wife performs.

On the issues:

What's the top issue facing the court? “In general, it's a financial issue. Cases are not being heard in a timely fashion because nobody will allocate money for more judges or resources.”

How do you keep political donations by lawyers from affecting decisions from the bench? “Anyone who knows me will tell you I wouldn't allow it.”

Should judges hire family members? “It's not the best policy. It gives at least the appearance of impropriety.”

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

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