The Berks County Bar Association released the results of a recent poll, which asked members to rate the three candidates competing in the May 16 primary for nominations to serve as a Berks County Court of Common Pleas judge.
Jill M. Scheidt, a Wyomissing attorney, received 186 votes – or 70.19 percent of ballots cast — in the “highly recommended” category followed by Justin D. Bodor, a Berks County Assistant District Attorney from Oley Township, with 176 votes (66.67 percent) for the “highly recommended rating.” Exeter Township attorney Kurt B. Geishauser received 50 “highly recommended” votes (19.3 percent), in the poll – or plebiscite — of bar association members conducted April 24 through May 1.
“Our members have practiced side by side with these candidates, witnessed their interactions with clients, sitting judges, court staff, and others,” said Bar Association President Gabriela G. Raful.
“Our members, more than almost anyone, have had a unique perspective on the work and the conduct of these candidates. The bar association’s plebiscite is a solemn responsibility, which allows us to fulfill our mission of protecting the integrity of the legal system in Berks County. My hope is that the voters of Berks County also consider it a vital public service.”
The ratings used are outlined in the bar association’s bylaws, which call for polling members whenever there is an election for Berks County judge.
A candidate who is “highly recommended” is one who “possesses the highest combination of legal ability, experience, integrity, and temperament, and would be capable of outstanding performance as a judge of the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.”
A rating of “recommended” is “Based on legal ability, experience, integrity, and temperament, the candidate would be able to perform satisfactorily as a judge of the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.”
A rating of “not recommended at this time” is “Based on legal ability, experience, integrity, or temperament, or any combination thereof, at the present time, the candidate is not able to perform satisfactorily as a judge of the Berks County Court of Common Pleas.”
Raful emphasized that the results do not constitute an endorsement or non-endorsement of any candidate by the Berks County Bar Association.
The complete vote totals are:
Jill M. Scheidt Highly Recommended 186 votes (70.19% of ballots cast). Recommended 61 votes (23.02% of ballots cast). Not Recommended at this time 18 votes (6.79% of ballots cast).
Justin D. Bodor Highly Recommended 176 votes (66.67% of ballots cast). Recommended 78 votes (29.55% of ballots cast). Not Recommended at this time 10 votes (3.79% of ballots cast).
Kurt B. Geishauser Highly Recommended 50 votes (19.31% of ballots cast). Recommended 94 votes (36.29% of ballots cast). Not Recommended at this time 115 (44.4% of ballots cast).
All three candidates are cross-filed on the Republican and Democratic tickets in the May 16 primary. There are two vacancies on the bench created by the December 6 death of the Hon. Paul M. Yatron and the retirement of the Hon. Timothy J. Rowley in December 2021.
Judges serve 10 years, then must seek retention. The position pays $212,495 per year.