Pennsylvania Superior Court

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Pennsylvania Superior Court
Court information
Judges:   15
Founded:   1895
Judicial selection
Method:   Partisan election of judges
Term:   10 years

The Pennsylvania Superior Court is one of Pennsylvania's two statewide intermediate appellate courts, the other being the Commonwealth Court. The Superior Court was established in 1895. It reviews most of the civil and criminal cases that are appealed from the Courts of Common Pleas in the state's 67 counties. The court's judges also review and decide on wiretapping applications presented by the state's Attorney General and district attorneys under Pennsylvania's Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act.[1]

The Superior Court consists of 15 judges who serve 10-year terms (beginning the January after their election and ending on the first Monday of the January ten years later - only on even-numbered years).[2][3] Additionally, senior judges are appointed to serve on the court from time-to-time by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. The president judge of the court is elected to a five-year term by his or her colleagues.[4]


JudgeTermAppointed by
Senior Judge James J. Fitzgerald2008-present
Judge Kate Ford Elliott1989-2019
Judge John Bender2002-2021
Judge Mary Jane Bowes2002-2021
Judge Susan Peikes Gantman2004-2023
Judge Jack Panella1993-2023
Judge Christine Donohue2008-2017
Judge Jacqueline Shogan2008-2017
Judge Cheryl Lynn Allen2008-2017
Senior Judge Stephen McEwen1981-2011
Judge Sallie Mundy2009-2019
Judge Judith Olson2010-2019
Judge Paula Ott2009-2019
Judge Anne Lazarus2009-2019
Judge David N. Wecht2012-2022
Judge Patricia H. JenkinsGov. Tom Corbett
Senior Judge William H. Platt2011-present
Senior Judge Eugene B. Strassburger, III1978-2011

Court seal

Judicial pay

Justices of the Pennsylvania Superior Court are paid $175,923 annually, with the chief justice earning somewhat more.[5]

Budget deficit

In Fiscal Year 2008-2009, the Superior Court had a budget deficit of $5.3 million, according to a "State of the Courts" report prepared by Chief Justice Ronald Castille of the Supreme Court. Castille said that the deficit "threatens to diminish historic excellence in thoughtful and expeditious case management. Continued under-funding of Superior Court will have lasting consequences in its ability to manage its substantial caseload."[6]


The Superior Court was established in 1895 by Pennsylvania's state legislature to hear appeals from the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas.

When the court was formed in 1895, it included seven judges who sat together to hear each case that came in front of the court. In 1978, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ordered the court to begin hearing cases in panels of three judges, citing the "exceedingly heavy volume of appeals coming to the Superior Court".[7]

In 1979, the Pennsylvania Constitution was amended to increase the number of judges on the court from 7 to its current level of 15. The eight additional positions were filled by 1986.

Judges are both elected and appointed to the court. Seniority is attained according to the length of continuous service on the court, but elected judges receive seniority over appointed judges.[8]


Appeals, 2007

The court provided these statistics in 2008 to indicate the number of appeals that were filed with the court, versus those that were pending and resolved in 2007.[9]

Appeals Total Civil Criminal
Appeals pending, January 1, 2007 6,464 2,073 4,391
New appeals in 2007 7,979 3,402 4,577
Appeals concluded in 2007 8,156 3,394 4,762
Appeals pending, January 1, 2008 6,287 2,081 4,206

External links



See also: Pennsylvania judicial elections, 2015

Candidates competing for one open seat

Primary election, 2015
    Democratic Robert J. Colville
    Democratic Alice B. Dubow
    Republican Emil A. Giordano



See also: Pennsylvania judicial elections, 2013
JudgeRetention voteRetention Vote %
GantmanSusan Peikes Gantman   ApprovedA 69.4%ApprovedA
PanellaJack Panella   ApprovedA 69.2%ApprovedA
Seat 1
CandidateIncumbencyPartyPrimary VoteElection Vote
McVay, Jr.Jack McVay, Jr. NoDemocratic55.4%ApprovedA48.5%   DefeatedD
Waters, Jr.Joseph C. Waters, Jr. NoDemocratic44.6% 
StabileVic StabileApprovedANoRepublican100%ApprovedA51.5%   ApprovedA
WydaRobert C. Wyda NoRepublicanWithdrew% 


See also: Pennsylvania judicial elections, 2011
The following is a list of candidates for the Superior Court 2011 election:
CandidateIncumbencyDistrictPrimary VoteElection Vote
PatrickPaula A. Patrick    No34.6% 
WechtDavid N. Wecht   ApprovedANo100%54.6%   ApprovedA
BenderJohn Bender   ApprovedAYes   ApprovedA
StabileVic Stabile    No65.4%45.4%   DefeatedD
BowesMary Jane Bowes   ApprovedAYes   ApprovedA

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