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» Judicial Candidates Rated by Individual Attorneys
Posted on Friday, March 15, 2013 at 7:45 AM

As of January 2014, a seat on the Common Pleas Court becomes available as a result of the retirement of The Honorable Michael E. Dunlavey.  The Erie County Bar Association (ECBA) conducted a plebiscite , or poll, of its 476 Active members and asked the individual attorneys to rate the candidates according to the following categories: Highly Recommended, Recommended, Not Recommended or No Opinion.

ECBA Members were asked to evaluate the four (4)  prospective candidates based on professional qualifications such as competence, integrity and temperament. A “Highly Recommended” rating indicates the candidate possesses the highest reputation for competence, integrity and temperament, and would be capable of outstanding performance as a judge.  By definition, a “Recommended” rating indicates that based on competence, integrity and temperament, the candidate would be able to perform satisfactorily as a judge.  A “Not Recommended” rating indicates that based on competence, integrity or temperament, or any combination thereof, the candidate is inadequate to perform satisfactorily as a judge.  If a voting member does not know a candidate well enough to evaluate him, they are asked to indicate “No Opinion.”    

Each of the four judicial candidates - William J. Kelly, Jr., John J. “Jamie” Mead, Robert A. Sambroak, Jr. and Joseph M. Walsh, III - were recommended by more than 50% of those who returned valid ballots.  (The count of  recommended votes combines votes in both the “Highly Recommended” and “Recommended” categories.)  There were no judicial candidates voted “Highly Recommended” or “Not Recommended” by more than 50 percent of those who returned valid ballots.

“The Association conducts a plebiscite each year that there is an election for a Common Pleas Court Judgeship.  We hope that the information is helpful to our community.  Individual attorneys are in a unique position to provide input on the candidates’ respective qualifications for the important position of Judge,” said ECBA President John M. Quinn, Jr.

The four candidates gave brief speeches to the Bar Association membership at a meeting held on February 4, after which ballots concerning the four candidates were mailed to Active members along with information on finding the candidates’ résumés on the ECBA website.  Of the 476 ballots issued, 324 ballots, or 68%, were returned.

Plebiscite results are listed below in both percentage and raw data formats.  Candidates are listed in alphabetic order.  Percentages are based on the 324 valid ballots returned:

Candidate:                           Highly Recommended      Recommended      Not Recommended      No Opinion
William J. Kelly, Jr.                     72 (22%)                           105 (32%)                106 (33%)                  41 (13%)
John J. “Jamie” Mead               111 (34%)                         122 (38%)                 49 (15%)                   42 (13%)
Robert A. Sambroak, Jr.            137 (42%)                       131 (40%)                 15 (5%)                      41 (13%)
Joseph M. Walsh, III                   93 (29%)                          129 (40%)                 34 (10%)                   68 (21%)

Ballots were tallied by the CPA firm of Maloney, Reed, Scarpitti & Company.