The Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania is pleased to announce that Governor Tom Wolf has recently appointed three new members to the Board: Judge Nina Wright Padilla of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, Mandi L, Culhane, Esquire, of Allegheny County, and Mr. Michael P. Martin of Erie County.
The Judicial Conduct Board is an independent body of Pennsylvania citizens comprised of three judges, three lawyers and six non-lawyer, lay members. Half of the Board members are appointed by the Governor and half by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The Board’s members serve four-year terms, without pay. No more than half of its appointed members may be from the same political party.
Judge Padilla has served on the Court of Common Pleas since 2003. She currently sits in the Civil Trial Division, Motions and Statutory Appeals Program. In addition, she also presides over Class Actions and Conservatorships, and is frequently assigned to Election Court. Judge Padilla sat in Philadelphia Family Court, Domestic Relations Branch from August 2003 until June of 2012 where she presided over matters of Divorce, Support, Custody, Domestic Violence and Criminal Abuse. In June 2012, she was reassigned to the Criminal Trial Division where she presided over criminal jury trials.
Throughout her tenure on the bench, she has continually served as a panelist in numerous continuing legal education programs, including programs for the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, the Philadelphia Bar Association and the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania. Judge Padilla currently serves as Committee Chair of the Board of View and Board of Revision of Taxes Committee for the Court of Common Pleas Board of Judges.
Prior to her judicial tenure, Judge Padilla maintained a private law practice with her husband, Edward C. Wright, who is presently a Judge assigned to the Civil Trial Division of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. While engaged in private law practice for ten years, her area of concentration was Consumer Bankruptcy, as well as general civil litigation and criminal law. Throughout her years in private practice, Judge Padilla served as a legal analyst on both the Greater Media and Comcast Cable Programs, “Today’s Law” and “Legaline.”
Judge Padilla obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland School of Law, and her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Judge Padilla was appointed to fill the unexpired term of then-Common Pleas Court Judge Christine Fizzano Cannon who resigned her Board seat in 2017 when she was a candidate for the Commonwealth Court. Judge Padilla’s term will run until October 30, 2018. At that time, the Governor may reappoint her for the balance of a four-year term. Under the Constitution, Board Members may not serve more than four consecutive years. Judge Padilla serves as the Common Pleas Court Judge Member of the Board.
Mrs. Culhane is a shareholder at the law firm of Goehring, Rutter & Boehm, with offices in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. She practices within the firm’s Municipal, Municipal Creditors’ Rights, Real Estate and Litigation Groups. She is admitted to practice before the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the United States District Courts for the Western and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania, the Supreme, Superior and Commonwealth Courts of Pennsylvania and the Supreme Court of Appeals and Circuit Courts of West Virginia.
Mrs. Culhane is a member of the Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and American Bar Associations. She joined the Allegheny County Bar Foundation Fellows Class in 2010 and participated in the Allegheny County Bar Foundation Young Lawyer’s Division Bar Leadership Initiative Class in 2007-2008. Since 2010, she has been repeatedly recognized as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer Rising Star for her work in the areas of appellate practice and municipal law.
Mrs. Culhane graduated from Bucknell University in 2001, earning her B.A., magna cum laude. She graduated from the George Mason University School of Law, now the Antonin Scalia Law School, in 2004, also with magna cum laude honors.
Mrs. Culhane was appointed to fill the vacancy created upon the expiration of term of former Board Member Richard T. Frazier of Chester County. Her appointed term will run through February 5, 2020. She serves on the Board as one of the three non-judge or lawyer members of the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Martin is President and owner of Printing Concepts Inc., a sheet-fed commercial printing company employing 34 people in Erie, a company widely recognized as the region’s leader in print and direct mail services.
Among his professional and personal affiliations, Mr. Martin serves as a member of the Northwest Bank Regional Advisory Board, the Erie Philharmonic Board of Governors, and the UPMC Hamot Board of Corporators. He is chair of the Millcreek Township Zoning and Hearing Board and Vice Chair of the Erie Metropolitan Transit Authority. He previously served on the Erie County Redevelopment Authority, the First National Bank Advisory Board, the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, and was one of the founding members of the Erie Runners Club. Mr. Martin attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Martin was appointed to fill the Board seat previously occupied by Mr. Kenneth Lawrence of Montgomery County who resigned before the end of his four-year term. Mr. Martin’s appointed term will expire on February 20, 2020. He serves as one of six non-lawyer electors or laypersons having membership on the Board.
Created by constitutional amendment in 1993, the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania is an independent board within the judicial branch of the Commonwealth’s government responsible for reviewing, investigating, and, where warranted, prosecuting complaints of judicial misconduct. If the Board, by majority vote, decides that there is probable cause to believe that a judge engaged in misconduct, the Board may file a complaint in the Court of Judicial Discipline where the Board must prove the charges against the judge by clear and convincing evidence. The Court of Judicial Discipline decides if the Board has sustained its burden of proof and decides the sanction to be imposed for any proven misconduct.
For further information about the Judicial Conduct Board, visit the Board’s Website at www.jcbpa.org.