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Pappas also carries with him the memory of violence in his own home, where he fled with his mother to safety. The shelters where they slept afterwards have been blotted out by time or trauma. It is through this lens which he presides. This lived experience, he said, makes him the judge he is. He wants to focus on rehabilitation. And he hopes to do it at a higher level.
Today marks his official announcement. When he ran for district judge inopenly calling for an end to cash bail, Pappas kept his past separate from his campaign, which he won by unseating a year incumbent. But for this campaign, telling his life story and being transparent are front and center. Who himself was a victim of domestic abuse, and had an addiction to alcohol and suffered from depression. In my early childhood, I was lucky enough to get away from it safely because of the courage of my own mother.
And so, that was a long term recovery process. And how do you determine that? Through campaigns, slogans. How do you determine that through recitations of cases and achievements? What drives them and motivates them? Pappas, a long-time progressive, has been in private practice for the past six years. He also spent six years working as a policy adviser for former state Adult Personals seeking a Pittsburgh that s honorable and longtime progressive Jim Ferlo. Pappas says he will continue to push for alternatives to cash-bail, including community-sponsored release options, which includes finding housing, employment, and transportation for defendants.
Pappas wants to work with the medical and research community, and with nonprofits that are foundation-funded to develop alternatives. With that model in mind, Pappas has been making changes at the district court level through expanding access to affordable housing, pushing back against mass incarceration and seeking alternatives to cash bail and summary warrants for non-payments for small amounts. Going from 30, people affected, to 1. Pappas progressive approach to the courts also generated pushback from law enforcement and judicial administrators in early Seven percent of his cases failed to appear.
According to Pappas, 10 out of the 13 folks who did re-offend in cases, their violations were drug or alcohol related. And sometimes those cases can be violent. InWilliam Hoston, was out on bond in two separate cases when he was charged with homicide. Hoston posted bond the next day and missed his next hearing. At his Dec. Hoston again posted bond and while free was arrested on homicide charges. He later pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and is serving a five-year sentence.
Balancing public safety concerns with understanding of other factors that may bring somebody into the criminal courts system —like addiction, poverty, lack of mental health resources—is something Pappas considers on a case by case basis. Or regaining it to the greatest extent possible.
This is not something we have done very well by under-emphasizing rehabilitation and over-emphasizing incapacitation. Pappas credits President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark of the Family Division of the 5th Judicial District of Pennsylvania with advocating for trauma-informed practices in the courtroom and says his model is similar. It starts out with treating everyone who stands in front of him with dignity and respect.
It also means ensuring that he is using proper pronouns for every person and getting names exactly right. It means acknowledging official statuses: Doctor, Sergeant, Detective, etc. Pappas said he is a big proponent of making sure to take time on every case—not rush through a hearing.
It is also a way to work towards harm-reduction and equity.
Stock said, she got calls from staff that the court session was still going at p. In the beginning, Pappas was ased a schedule of 70 to 75 cases in one day. Some scheduled concurrently. It often forces long wait-times for everyone involved: law enforcement, attorneys and those appearing before the court. Folks who have taken off work, who have obstacles when it comes to transportation or child care, who perhaps, are using a sick day or a paid time off to appear in court, can sit and wait for hours before their case is heard.
When a judge is juggling multiple cases in a packed schedule, the process can feel rushed when it is finally your turn. Pappas said he wanted to take his time and so he staggered his schedule. Case stacking, he says, is not conducive to trauma-informed care and it does not uphold procedural justice. Folks Adult Personals seeking a Pittsburgh that s honorable to be heard and allowed the time to explain themselves. And, if they are taking the time to be punctual for their hearing, so should he. So, Pappas stopped scheduling 75 cases in a single day.
He schedules hearings throughout the week and limits how many he hears a day. Pittsburgh municipal court adopted a staggered scheduling approach during the COVID pandemic to mitigate the spread of the virus. When hearings transitioned to online, the staggered schedule remained. Pappas hopes the practice continues into the future. Something that Pappas loves to talk about is bias. He says he wants to work to address systemic bias in the justice system and the best way to do that is advocating for leaders who are diverse in lived experience, identity, and education.
Everyone is human, says Pappas, even judges and journalists. But, when that bias goes unchecked, it is no longer unconscious, but institutional and systemic. Pappas said that implicit bias happens at the community level, at the time of arrest, in the courtroom, and in the headlines. Save my name,and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Hit enter to search or ESC to close.
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