Chestnut Hill College and Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts Collaborate to Foster Reform and Awareness About PA Courts

Chestnut Hill College and Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts recently announced a new initiative that will result in an ongoing collaboration to engage and inform the community about the PA judicial system and examine opportunities for reform.

As part of the partnership, students from Chestnut Hill College (CHC) have the chance to volunteer and partake in a variety of internship opportunities provided by Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC).

In their new alliance, CHC and PMC will co-sponsor an event on November 13th at 6:00 p.m., titled “Court Basics 101,” a workshop and Q&A hosted by Maida Milone, the president of PMC. Held in the Redmond Room at CHC, the workshop will illuminate the procedures of the Pennsylvania Judicial System, detail how the courts are organized and discuss how they function and operate — from the layout of courtrooms to how judges are selected to what to do to become a more knowledgeable citizen. A reception will follow at 7:15 p.m.

“We look forward to building this partnership with Chestnut Hill College,” Milone said. “Our initiative with the College enables us to continue our outreach within the community and inspire a new generation of reformers.”

PMC is a statewide nonprofit and nonpartisan organization devoted to ensuring that all Pennsylvanians can be confident they will receive qualified, fair and impartial judges. It accomplishes this through its numerous programs, including the Landlord-Tenant Court, Citizen Court Monitoring and Community Outreach, the latter of which sends ambassadors to communities with high percentages of court users to present educational workshops on the justice system. As part of its partnership with the Philadelphia Bail Fund, PMC works to reduce or eliminate cash bail by highlighting the current preliminary arraignment process, describing how decisions are made and explaining how access to freedom pretrial is determined.

PMC advocates for a multitude of judicial reforms, most notably the merit selection of appellate judges. Five recent PA governors supported PMC’s push to select competent jurists based on merit rather than through partisan political elections.

CHC’s Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Chair of the Department of Justice Studies and Human Services Lauren Barrow said, “The Constitution, as our founding document, dictates equal administration of justice. Therefore, one’s liberty should be determined under the rule of law, not threatened by extra-legal factors, such as affluence or race.”