Judge McDaniel's hiring practices hurt confidence in the courts

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Your article detailing hiring practices at the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas Criminal Division states that President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel has two daughters and two sons-in-law employed in the court ("Family Ties Still Factor in Court Hiring," Dec. 16). The article also states that the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts says hiring practice falls to the individual county's president judge. In this capacity, Judge McDaniel oversees rampant nepotism by at least seven judges. It states the American Bar Association's Model Code of Conduct recommends against nepotism and encourages merit hiring and that the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Code states judges should appoint only on the basis of merit, avoiding favoritism.

Judge McDaniel's conduct exposes a complete lack of judgment and respect for the community she serves. I suspect many have been lectured on those behaviors prior to sentencing by the judge. She and Administrative Judge Jeffrey Manning can justify her conduct with tortured explanations and absence of a law preventing it and she can impose it in the back rooms of the courthouse. She cannot, however, impose it in the jury box without a willing public. I for one will not participate in this charade if summoned to serve in this court.

I have filed complaints with the Judicial Conduct Board in Harrisburg in the hope that it will make determinations as to conduct, use of taxpayer money, proper role for an administrative judge and the need for cleaning house to restore confidence in this institution.

CLAUDE SCHRIFT
Swissvale


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