There is an excessive amount of coverage of negative actions by Black persons, but a very limited amount of coverage of positive actions by Blacks. The death of Judge Gary Lancaster, head federal judge of western Pennsylvania highlighted that fact.
Over a period of time there have been 17 Black judges, and five who served in the capacity of magisterial district judges, a total of 22. The first Black Allegheny County Common Pleas judge was Judge Homer S. Brown. Then there were Judge Henry Smith, Judge Warren Watson, Judge Thomas Harper, Judge Livingston Johnston, Judge Walter Little, Judge Kim Clark, Judge Dwayne Woodruff, Judge Cynthia Baldwin [appointed to the Pa. Supreme Court] and the most recent is Judge Joseph Williams.
At the Pennsylvania Superior Court level there was Judge Justin Johnston and currently there is Judge Cheryl Allen.
At the federal level there was Judge Paul Simmons [deceased] and until recently there was Judge Gary Lancaster [deceased]. All of the above judges served us well and I can openly boast that I knew all of them personally and was an active participant in all of those who were elected to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court and the two who were elected to the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
At a local level, remember those on the magisterial level— the late Judge John H. Adams, late Judge Jacob “Jake” Williams, Judge Eddie Tibbs, Judge Kevin Cooper and Judge Oscar Petite. I have been privileged to know all of them and Judge Oscar Petite is currently running for reelection.
I don’t live in Judge Petite’s district, but if I did I would definitely be supporting his reelection. Why? I have sat in his courtroom as a witness, defendant and an observer and I walked out of the courtroom impressed to no extent. Judge Petite was articulate, knowledgeable about the law, compassionate but forceful. As I sat in his courtroom it was apparent to me and a number of others that his 18 years as a magistrate and the many thousands of cases he has presided over proved conclusively that he overwhelmingly has earned the right to be reelected in May of 2013.
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(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a weekly contributor to the Forum Page.)

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