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BERKS COUNTY Court of Common Pleas · Dale G. Derr, District Court Administrator ... Judge Judge...

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BERKS COUNTY Court of Common Pleas 2002 ANNUAL REPORT BERKS COUNTY Court of Common Pleas
  • BERKS COUNTYCourt of



    BERKS COUNTYCourt of


  • Forrest R. Shanaman1858 1859

    W. J. Woodward1861 1874

    Robert Porter1810 1832

    Paul N. Schaeffer1924 1945

    John Banks1836 1846

    John Spayd1806 1809

    Garrick Mallery1833 1835

    Gustav Endlich1908 1924

    H. Robert Mays1946 1957

    James N. Ermentrout1890 1907

    PRESIDENT JUDGES1752 Conrad Weiser1791-1805 Jacob Rush1806-1809 John Spayd1810-1832 Robert Porter1833-1835 Garrick Mallery1836-1846 John Banks1847-1848 J. Pringle Jones1849-1861 David F. Gordon1861-1874 W. J. Woodward1875-1889 Jeremiah Hagerman1890-1907 James N. Ermentrout1908-1924 Gustav A. Endlich1924-1945 Paul N. Schaeffer1946-1957 H. Robert Mays1958-1959 Forrest R. Shanaman1959-1973 Warren K. Hess1974-1980 W. Richard Eshelman1981-1982 Fredrick Edenharter1982-1983 Grant E. Wesner1983-1997 Forrest G. Schaeffer1997-2000 Scott D. Keller2000-2003 Albert A. Stallone

  • 1

    TABLE OF CONTENTS Letter from the President Judge 2

    Executive Summary 3

    Historical Perspective 4

    Organizational Chart 5

    Board of Judges 6

    Court Summary 9Criminal CourtFamily CourtIndirect Criminal ContemptChild CustodyPFADivorcesOrphans CourtCivil Court

    District Justices 11

    Office of the Court Administraor 13Adult Probation & ParoleJuevenile ProbationDomestic RelationsLaw LibraryCourt Reporters

    BOARD OF JUDGES President Judge

    Albert A. StalloneHon. Thomas J. EshelmanHon. Arthur E. GrimHon. Scott D. KellerHon. Linda K.M. LudgateHon. Peter W. SchmehlHon. Jeffrey K. SprecherHon. Stephen B. LiebermanHon. Jeffrey L. SchmehlHon. Scott E. LashHon. Mary Ann CampbellHon. Thomas G. Parisi

    SENIOR JUDGES* Hon. Frederick EdenharterHon. Forrest SchaefferHon. Elizabeth Ehrlich

    *Denotes retired judges who continue to serve the PresidentJudge and the needs of the Court

    DISTRICT JUSTICESHon. Richard C. BeckHon. Michael J.

    LeonardziakHon. Wallace S. ScottHon. Thomas H. XaviosHon. William N. Hall, Jr.Hon. Dean R. PattonHon. Felix V. StacherskiHon. Timothy M. DoughertyHon. Phyllis J. KowalskiHon. Nicholas M. BentzHon. Susanne R. WalleyHon. Michael G. HartmanHon. Ronald C. MestHon. Gail M. GrethHon. Thomas M. Gauby, Sr.Hon. Gloria W. StitzelHon. Carol A. StoudtHon. Deborah P. Lachina

    SENIOR DISTRICTJUSTICES*Hon. Doris JamesHon. John DoughertyHon. Richard ReeserHon. John MillerHon. George Wenger

    *Denotes retired district justiceswho continue to serve thePresident Judge and the needs ofthe Court

    COURT ADMINISTRATIONDale G. Derr, District Court

    AdministratorCathy M. Marburger,

    Criminal/Civil CourtAdministrator

    Faith Phillips, SpecialCourts Administrator

    Tracy Barlet, Resources &Technology Administrator

    Lisa M. Waldman, FamilyCourt Administrator

    LAW LIBRARYLinda Fisk, Law Librarian

    COURT REPORTERSMerle Meckley,

    Chief Court Reporter


    Chief Probation Officer


    Chief Probation Officer

    DOMESTIC RELATIONSMark Poserina, Director

  • 2

    To The Citizens Of Berks County:On behalf of the Board of Judges, I submit this

    2002 Annual Report for all of the courts of BerksCounty which are collectively designated statewide asthe 23rd Judicial District of the Commonwealth ofPennsylvania.

    Obviously, the administration of a court system ofour size and complexity requires the dedication ofmany with diverse talents which begins with ourtwelve commissioned judges and eighteen districtjustices, in addition to our eight senior judges anddistrict justices.

    This spirit of commitment to provide fair andaccessible justice extends throughout the judiciary toits eight court departments and 423 employees. OurCourt Administrator and department heads in CourtAdministration, Adult and Juvenile Probation andDomestic Relations together oversee more than $20million in payroll and operating expenses. They havethe responsibility of understanding and ensuring thatthe vision and priorities of the bench are carried out.Without their daily support, we would not be able tomanage our caseloads, provide our services to thepublic and make the structural changes to our judicialsystem as mandated by the laws promulgated by thestate legislature and directives of the PennsylvaniaSupreme Court.

    As a distinctly separate branch of government, theCourt is reliant on the financial support of theCountys Executive Branch. The collaborative andcongenial relationship between the Commissionersand the Court is, in my opinion, the most rewardingpursuit that I have been involved with in myprofessional career, for it has always been focused onthe desire of each branch to seek ways to fulfill our

    public purpose while atthe same time reducingthe operating costs,which we know isjustifiably theexpectation of all of ourcitizens.

    The need for ourcommunity to have anefficient and user-friendly judiciary is asparamount today as itwas 250 years ago whenthis great county was incorporated through the effortsof Conrad Weiser, our first President Judge.

    Because of my many years as an officer and lastyear as President of the Pennsylvania Conference ofState Trial Judges, where I was able to discuss judicialmatters with many of the Commonwealths greatestminds, I am more confident than ever that the 23rdJudicial District is capable and will continue to setjudicial benchmarks that other counties will be eagerto emulate.

    I know that I speak for all of the members of theBoard of Judges in expressing my deepest appreciationto each and every one of you for your wholeheartedsupport and constructive feedback for our BerksCounty judicial system.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Albert A. StallonePresident Judge

  • 3


    The publication of this first ever writtenannual report to the community coincideswith the 250th Anniversary of the incorporation of

    the County of Berks. Our intent is for the 23rd

    Judicial District to participate in this special event

    and share our rich and important history with all

    citizens. We hope that by distributing this report

    we will improve upon our publics awareness,

    trust and confidence in its judiciary. The report

    will survey the spectrum of services and programs

    provided by the judiciary and is arranged to

    mirror the organizational structure of the district.

    The members of the judiciary are proud of our

    common purpose, long history, many

    achievements, and most important, our prime

    goal to serve justice in a fair and expeditious

    manner for the citizens of Berks County. Effective

    planning, coordination and collaboration between

    the Courts departments and all Berks County

    organizations support the exemplary leadership of

    President Judge Albert A. Stallone, the Board of

    Judges, and the District Justices. As a result, the

    district has arguably been a judicial leader and

    innovator among the Commonwealths counties

    with similar populations and demographics.

    First Berks County Court House located at Fifth & Penn Streets(1762 - 1840)

    Berks Countys second Court House built on Sixth and CourtStreets (1837 - 1931)

  • 4


    As soon as Berks County was organized in March of1752, a new Prothonotary and Justices of the Peacebegan to function in the county seat at Reading. The first

    session of Court was held on August 11, 1752. Court

    sessions were held in private homes for the first ten years.

    The first courthouse was built by the people of Berks

    County in 1762 at what is now Fifth and Penn Streets in

    Reading. A new three-story courthouse was built at Sixth

    and Court Streets in 1840. Additions were added in 1869

    and 1889. By the early 20th century, the growth of Berks

    County had begun to challenge the courthouse and our

    current 18-floor courthouse was built in 1931 at Sixth and

    Court Streets. The building cost the taxpayers at the time

    $1.9 million and continues as the tallest building in Berks

    County to this day.

    There were no known lawyers residing in Berks County

    in 1752 and most of them came from Philadelphia or

    Lancaster. Local Justices of the Peace handled most of the

    cases, however, Supreme Court Justices along with

    prosecuting attorneys literally rode the circuit on horseback

    or in carriages to hear major civil and criminal cases. James

    Biddle, Esquire, was the first known attorney to reside in

    Berks County. The first Justices of the Peace included

    Conrad Weiser, Francis Parvin, Jonas Seely, Henry Harvey,

    William Bird, Jacob Levan, and James Read. Since the

    country had not yet seceded from England, King George III

    of England signed the commissions. Some of the men

    involved in the early days of the Berks County judiciary

    were also instrumental in forming our new nation.

    Attorney Edward Biddle and Justice of the Peace James

    Read were part of the seven-member contingent from Berks

    County to participate in the first Provincial Congress in

    Philadelphia on July 15, 1774. Edward Biddle also

    participated in the Continental Congress. He was believed to

    be ill and was not available to sign the Declaration of

    Independence. A copy of the Declaration of Independence

    was read at the Old Berks County Courthouse on July 6,


    The Constitution of Pennsylvania of 1790 authorized the

    Governor to appoint judges and justices to each judicial

    circuit. It also provided for our first President Judge of the

    Third Judicial District that comprised Berks, Luzerne,

    Northampton and Westmoreland Counties. The honorable

    Jacob Rush served in this capacity for 14 years. The size of

    the district was reduced to include Berks, Lehigh, and

    Northampton Counties in 1834 and finally Berks became its

    own judicial district in 1849. This began a significant period

    of development in the Berks County judiciary. For example,

    all judges were elected to the bench by 1851 and a law

    library was established with the Bar Association in 1859.

    For further historical research on the Berks County

    judiciary, please refer to A History of Berks Countys Bench,

    Bar, and Bar Association, The Berks County Bar

    Association, Calvin Smith, Esq., 1981, who became a

    member of the Court of Common Pleas in 1986 and retired

    in 1995.

    The third and presentBerks County Court Housewas built in 1932.

  • 5

    President JudgeAlbert A. Stallone

    I I I I I I I I I I IThomas J. Arthur E. Scott D. Linda K.M. Peter W. Jeffrey K. Stephen B. Jeffrey L. Scott E. Mary Ann Thomas G.Eshelman Grim Keller Ludgate Schmehl Sprecher Lieberman Schmehl Lash Campbell Parisi

    Judge Judge Judge Judge Judge Judge Judge Judge Judge Judge Judge

    Berks County Court Of Common Pleas 23rd Judicial District Of Pennsylvania


    I I I I I I I I IFaith Cathy Tracy Barlet Lisa Roger Bruce Mark Linda Merle

    Phillips Marburger Resources/ Waldman Luckenbill Grim Poserina Fisk MeckleySpecial Criminal/Civil Technology Family Chief Chief Director Law Librarian ChiefCourts Court Court Court Adult Juvenile Domestic Court

    Administrator Administrator Administrator Administrator Probation Probation Relations Reporters

    I I IForrest G. Schaeffer Elizabeth Ehrlich Frederick Edenharter

    Senior Judge Senior Judge Senior Judge

    18 District Justices Mark GillenLeroy Gensemer

    Jury Commissioners

    Dale G. DerrDistrict Court Administrator

  • 6

    PRESIDENT JUDGE ALBERT A. STALLONEPresident Judge Albert A. Stallone was elected to the Courtof Common Pleas in 1987 for his initial 10-year term. Hewas retained in 1997 for a second term. Since September2000, he has been serving as President Judge for the 23rdJudicial District and continues to serve as the AdministrativeJudge for the Civil Court. In addition, he is actively involvedin the Berks County Bar Association and the PennsylvaniaConference of State Trial Judges where he was ConferencePresident from 2001-2002. He has recently been appointedby the Supreme Court to chair the statewide committee onSecurity and Terrorism of the Court of Common Pleas.

    Prior to his election in 1987, President Judge Stallonewas an Assistant District Attorney, Solicitor to the Registerof Wills, and a partner in private practice.

    He is a graduate of Reading High School, WesleyCollege and American University School of Law.

    HONORABLE THOMAS J. ESHELMANJudge Thomas J. Eshelman was elected to the Court ofCommon Pleas in 1987. He was retained in 1997 and iscurrently assigned to the Criminal Court. He had previouslybeen assigned to the Civil Court.

    Prior to his election to the bench, he served BerksCounty as Register of Wills and Clerk of the Orphans Court.He practiced law privately with the firm of McGavin,DeSantis, and Koch of Reading, PA.

    He is a graduate of Dickinson College and DickinsonSchool of Law.

    Court Of Common Pleas Of Berks County

    Board Of Judges

    (Above L to R) Seated: Scott D. Keller, Thomas J. Eshelman, Albert A.Stallone, Arthur E. Grim, Linda K. M. Ludgate. Standing: Elizabeth Ehrlich(now Senior Judge), Peter W. Schmehl, Stephen B. Lieberman, Scott E. Lash,Jeffrey L. Schmehl, and Jeffrey K. Sprecher. Inset photos at right are MaryAnn Campbell, and Thomas G. Parisi.

  • 7

    HONORABLE ARTHUR E. GRIM Judge Arthur E. Grim was elected to the Court of CommonPleas in 1987 for his initial 10-year term and retained in1997. He is currently the Administrative Judge for theFamily, Juvenile, and Orphans Courts.

    Judge Grim is actively involved in the Juvenile JusticeSection of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges,the Berks Community Foundation Education Committee,and the Reading Hospital Mental Health Advisory Board. Hehas been a strong advocate for measures to reduce domesticviolence and programs that develop stronger families.

    He is a graduate of Moravian College and the DuquesneUniversity School of Law.

    HONORABLE SCOTT D. KELLERJudge Scott D. Keller was elected to the Court of CommonPleas in 1989 for his initial 10-year term. He was retained in1999 for a second term. Judge Keller has been theAdministrative Judge for the Criminal Court since 1993,with one exception. From 1997 2000, Judge Keller servedas President Judge for the 23rd Judicial District. Hecurrently chairs the Intermediate Punishment ProgramCommittee and the Criminal Justice Policy Group.

    Judge Keller served Berks County in other roles prior tobeing elected to the bench as County Solicitor, JuvenileCourt Master, Assistant District Attorney, and First AssistantDistrict Attorney. He has also worked as private counsel andserved as the Berks County Republican Chairman.

    Judge Keller is a graduate of Muhlenberg High School,Albright College, and the American University School of Law.

    HONORABLE LINDA K.M. LUDGATEJudge Linda K.M. Ludgate was elected to the Court ofCommon Pleas in 1989 for her initial 10-year term. She wasretained for another term beginning in 1999. Judge Ludgateis assigned to the Criminal Court. She is actively involved inthe National Association of Women Judges, InternationalAssociation of Women Judges, Berks County Meet YourJudges Program, Women in Crisis and People AgainstRape/Crime Victims Center Steering Committee, and theBerks County Bar Association. Judge Ludgate was selected tothe World Whos Who of Women, 12th Edition in 1994-1995.

    Judge Ludgate is a graduate of Alvernia College andTemple University School of Law.

    HONORABLE PETER W. SCHMEHL Judge Peter W. Schmehl was elected to the Common PleasCourt in 1992 for his initial term and retained for a secondterm in 2002. He has been assigned to the Orphans Courtsince 1994.

    Judge Schmehl has also served Berks as a SpecialMaster to hear divorce, alimony, and equitable distribution

    matters. He practiced law in Berks County from 1973 untilhis election to the bench. A C-130 Hercules pilot, hecommanded US Navy missions to the arctic regions inOperation Deepfreeze, retiring as a Lieutenant Commander.

    He is a graduate of Wyomissing High School, Universityof Pennsylvania, and Villanova University School of Law.

    HONORABLE JEFFREY K. SPRECHER Judge Jeffrey K. Sprecher was elected to the Court ofCommon Pleas in November 1991 and retained for asecond ten year term in November 2001. He is currentlyserving in the family division. His education includes aBachelor's Degree with a Major in Sociology, KutztownUniversity, Kutztown, Pennsylvania, 1972; Master's Degreein Public Administration, Marywood College, Scranton,Pennsylvania, 1975; and Law Degree, Delaware LawSchool, Wilmington, Delaware, 1982. His professionalexperience includes the practice of law, November 1982 toJanuary 3, 1992; Assistant Court Administrator, CriminalCourt Administrator, Berks County Court of Common Pleas,1975 to 1983; and Research Planner for PennsylvaniaGovernor's Justice Commission, June 1972 to November1975. He taught college courses from 1975 to 2000 at eitherAlbright College, Alvernia College, or Reading AreaCommunity College and was certified in 1975 by the MinorJudiciary Education Board to perform the duties of aDistrict Justice.

    HONORABLE STEPHEN B. LIEBERMANJudge Stephen B. Lieberman was elected to his initial 10-year term in 1996. He was assigned to the Criminal Courtand later the Civil Court during 2001. Prior to being electedto the bench, Judge Lieberman served Berks County asAssistant County Solicitor from 1984 1995. He has servedBerks police and firefighting agencies as solicitor and hasbeen the Chairman of the Family Law Section of the BerksCounty Bar Association.

    Judge Lieberman is recognized as a world-class archerand was the 1988 United States Olympic Archery TeamCaptain. He has been the National Judge of the US ArcheryAssociation since 1986 and was appointed to theInternational Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne,Switzerland from 1994 1998.

    Judge Lieberman is a graduate of Mt. Penn High School,Arizona State University and the University of VirginiaSchool of Law.

    HONORABLE JEFFREY L. SCHMEHLJudge Jeffrey L. Schmehl was elected to his initial 10-yearterm in 1997. He was assigned to the Criminal Trial CourtDivision from 1998 to 2002, but presently serves the CivilTrial Court Division.

    2002 Court of Common Pleas Annual Report

  • 8

    Prior to his election to the bench, Judge Schmehl servedas an Assistant Public Defender (1980-1981), AssistantDistrict Attorney (1981-1986), Berks County Solicitor (1988-1997), and was a partner in the Reading law firm of Rhoda,Stoudt & Bradley. Judge Schmehl also was the Solicitor tothe Berks County Chiefs of Police Association and aninstructor at the Reading Police Academy. He presentlyserves as an Adjunct Professor at Alvernia College. JudgeSchmehl graduated from Governor Mifflin High School,Dickinson College and University of Toledo College of Law.

    HONORABLE SCOTT E. LASHJudge Scott E. Lash was elected to his initial 10 year term in1999. He is assigned to Civil and Family Court and alsohandles Juvenile matters. He currently sits on the CountyPrison Board. He has been appointed to the AdvisoryCommittee for the Legislative Task Force studying geriatricand seriously ill inmates in the Commonwealth prisonsystem.

    Prior to his election to the bench, Judge Lash served asa Child Custody Hearing Officer and also as a JuvenileCourt Master. He practiced law in Berks County from 1982until his election to the Bench.

    Judge Lash is a frisbee enthusiast, being a formerNational Collegiate Champion in the distance event (secondoverall). He currently competes in the Masters Division ofthe World Championships, finishing fourth in distance thelast 2 years. In 1987, he compiled the Rules Book for theWorld Flying Disc Federation, and continues to sit as amember of the Rules Committee.

    Judge Lash is a graduate of Wyomissing Area HighSchool, Penn State University, and the University ofPittsburgh School of Law.

    HONORABLE MARY ANN CAMPBELLJudge Mary Ann Campbell was elected to the Court ofCommon Pleas in 2001 for her initial 10 year term. She isassigned to Family Court, Juvenile Court and Criminal Courtwhere she hears violations of protection from abuse matters.

    Prior to taking the bench Judge Campbell was a partnerin the law firm of Forry, Ulllman, Ullman and Forry whereshe limited her practice to family law matters. She alsoserved as a Support Master, Special Counsel, Fiscal Officerand Conference Officer for the Berks County DomesticRelations Section from 1985-1994.

    Judge Campbell is a graduate of Muhlenberg TownshipHigh School, Loyola University of Chicago, and RutgersUniversity School of Law.

    HONORABLE THOMAS G. PARISIJudge Thomas G. Parisi was elected to his initial 10-yearterm in 2001. He is assigned to the Criminal Court. Prior tobeing elected to the bench, Judge Parisi practiced lawprivately with the law firm OPake, Maisnee & Parisi since1987. He has served Berks County as an Assistant DistrictAttorney from 1984 1987 and as solicitor to varioustownships, school districts and non-profit organizations.

    Judge Parisi is a nationally recognized water poloofficial and administrator. He continues to be active in thedevelopment of local water polo programs.

    Judge Parisi is a graduate of Holy Name High School,Villanova University, and Villanova University School of Law.

    Berks County Board of Judges

    President Judge Albert A.Stallone poses with thePennsylvania Conference ofState Trial Judges display ofhis Pillars of Justice SpeakersBureau Initiative. He alsoserved as the ConferencePresident from 2001-2002.

  • 9

    PRESIDENT JUDGEThe 23rd Judicial District was authorized a complement oftwelve commissioned Common Pleas judges and eighteenDistrict Justices by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. TheHonorable Albert A. Stallone serves as President Judge.Ably assisting him are Senior Judges Frederick Edenharter,Forrest Schaeffer, and Elizabeth Ehrlich.

    In his capacity, as President of the PennsylvaniaConference of State Trial Judges. He was been responsiblefor legislative, professional development, and administrativematters for the Commonwealths 400 trial judges.

    Under President Judge Stallones local leadership, theCourt was able to accomplish many innovations including,the following highlights:

    Resolved the backlog of unserved warrants within theDistrict Justice System

    Implemented a new Level of Service standards with theBerks County Prison and the Adult Probation Office

    Fielded a concept for utilizing Child Custody andChild/Spousal Support Masters for more expeditious casemanagement and better focus on the family itself

    Obtained Supreme Court authorization for an additionalFamily Court Judge and a Family Court Administratorposition

    Added another judge to Criminal Court for operationCOBRA

    Completed the installation of videoconferencingtechnology to help reduce prisoner transport expenseswhile better supporting inmate-attorney conferences

    Formed a domestic violence coordinating policy groupwhich obtained the service of a Case Manager and AdultProbation Officer dedicated to these cases

    Coordinated with the District Attorney in the creation ofOperation Night Light which put Probation Officers outonto the streets

    Completed a comprehensive review of court security andsafety that later served everyone well following thenationwide alerts to terrorism

    Authorized the creation of a Central Booking Center forthe processing of those arrested for felonies andmisdemeanors

    Implemented a nonsupport work release program on thegrounds of Wernersville State Hospital as an alternative toimprisonment

    Placed computers in all courtrooms

    Created a Treatment Court to handle DUI, drug andmental health cases

    CRIMINAL COURTThe Honorable Scott D. Keller continued to serve as theAdministrative Judge for the Criminal Court. In his role,Judge Keller coordinated the case assignments for thefollowing judges while also integrating the Criminal CourtJudges priorities into near-term and long-range plans:

    Hon. Thomas J. Eshelman Hon. Linda K.M. Ludgate Hon. Stephen B. Lieberman Hon. Thomas G. Parisi

    Judge Keller also chairs the Berks County CriminalJustice Policy Group each month. The group has become amodel for other counties of our size as a forum fordiscussing the challenges of the criminal justice system.

    The Criminal Court judges were responsible for allmatters related to the outcome of a criminal case and usedinnovative programs to help manage the caseload andreduce overcrowding at the Berks County Prison including:Intermediate level punishment for mandatory sentences,Accelerated rehabilitation programs for early disposition ofappropriate cases, waiver of arraignment to expedite cases,special electronic monitoring of people convicted of lesssevere crimes, and video arraignments for people in jail orprison. Community service programs continued to besuccessful means for people convicted of crimes to serve thecommunity while completing their sentence.

    SUMMARY APPEALSPursuant to the Pennsylvania Rules of Criminal Procedure,any matter for which a citation is filed before a DistrictJustice may be appealed to the Court of Common Pleas fora hearing de novo.These cases generallyinvolve traffic violations,minor criminal matters,and violations ofmunicipal ordinances,for which a fine and/orimprisonment may be imposed. A hearing is routinelyscheduled and held within 30-60 days from the time anappeal is filed. Senior Judge Forrest G. Schaeffer thendetermines the guilt or innocence of the defendant on theoffenses charged.

    Berks County Court Of Common Pleas


    YEAR CASES % CHANGE1991 2501996 344 +37.6%2001 465 +35.2% 2002 395 -15%

  • 10

    INDIRECT CRIMINAL CONTEMPT APPEALSThe Honorable Mary Ann Campbell is responsible for theadjudication of casesinvolving defendants whoare alleged to haveviolated a protection fromabuse order. During 2002the Court responded to504 contempt complaints.

    FAMILY COURTThe Honorable Arthur E. Grim serves as the AdministrativeJudge of the Family Court. One family/one judge systemconcept was broadened to include the new Child Custody-Child/Spousal Support Masters. The feedback on efficiencyand timeliness has been promising. Other Family Law casesheard include the following: Juvenile Crime, EquitableDistribution of Assets, Special Relief, Alimony Pendente Lite,Domestic Violence, Protection from Abuse, and Divorce. Inaddition to Judge Grim, the following judges also heardFamily Law cases:

    Hon. Peter W. Schmehl Hon. Scott E. Lash Hon. Jeffrey K. Sprecher Hon. Mary Ann Campbell

    CHILD CUSTODYIn child custody cases, Masters held settlement conferencesfor the purpose of encouraging and supervising theformulation ofagreements between theparties. The CustodyMasters are authorized toenter an agreed Order ofCourt for later signatureby a judge. These casesmay involve legal custody of children, physical custody,partial custody, visitation, grandparents visitation,shared custody, and modification of custody.

    PROTECTION FROM ABUSE (PFA) PROGRAMDuring 2002, the Family Court through CourtAdministration processed 1930 Protection From Abuse (PFA)petitions. All petitionsrequired the plaintiff toappear before the Courtupon filing and asubsequent hearing wasscheduled for both thedefendant and plaintiffwithin ten days of the initial appearance. CourtAdministration provided a PFA Facilitator to assistpetitioners with filing a PFA action.

    DIVORCESDivorce Masters workingunder the authority ofthe Family Courtproposed resolutions for66 divorce filings in2002.

    ORPHANS COURTThe Honorable Peter W. Schmehl hears all cases referred tothe Orphans Court. Historically, this type of court is used tohear matters such as Adoptions, Guardianships,Incompetency, and Estates.

    CIVIL COURTIn addition to his duties as head of the Common PleasCourt, President Judge Stallone is also the AdministrativeJudge of the Civil Law Court. This court hears all civillitigation where damages claimed are in excess of $8,000.Arbitration is used to settle disputes, when appropriate andagreed upon by both parties. Also hearing civil cases werethe following judges:

    Hon. Jeffrey L. Schmehl Hon. Scott E. Lash

    1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter










    35Arbitration Results 2002

    YEAR CASES % CHANGE1991 1,3271996 1,375 +3.6%2001 1,461 +6.3% 2002 1,411 -3.4%

    YEAR CASES % CHANGE1991 9151996 1,192 +30.3%2001 1,800 +51.0% 2002 1,725 -4.2%

    YEAR CASES % CHANGE1991 5171996 828 +60.1%2001 1,062 +28.3%2002 1030 -3.0%

    YEAR CASES % CHANGE1991 274 1996 343 +25.2%2001 548 +59.8% 2002 504 -8.0%

    Court of Common Pleas Summary

  • 11

    T he mission of the Berks County DistrictJustice System is to seek justice, to fosterpublic trust and confidence in an independent

    judiciary, and to provide high quality courteous

    service to all users of the district justice courts by

    processing cases and resolving disputes in a

    manner that reflects the systems commitment to

    open access to the courts, fairness, impartiality,

    administrative efficiency, fiscal responsibility and

    public accountability.

    The eighteen district justices and two centralized districtjustice courts in Berks County are under the supervisionand administrative control of President Judge Albert A.Stallone.

    The Berks County Central Arraignment Court serves asan after-hours emergency duty court insuring the availabilityof at least one issuing authority in the 23rd Judicial District.Reading Central Court was established to efficiently disposeof preliminary hearings in misdemeanor and felony casesfiled in the six city district justice offices.

    District justices are part of the unified judicial system inthe Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They have jurisdictionover civil claims where the disputed amount does notexceed $8,000.00, landlord/tenant disputes, summaryoffenses (traffic and non-traffic offenses), and holdpreliminary hearings in misdemeanor and felony cases.They grant emergency relief under the Protection FromAbuse Act and the Older Adult Protective Service Act.Additionally, district justices issue arrest warrants, conductpreliminary arraignments, set and accept bail, issue searchwarrants, and perform marriage ceremonies.

    District justice offices are linked to the statewide-automated District Justice System, which came on-line in1992. This records management system assists offices in

    District Justices of the County of Berks

    Seated L to R: Dean R. Patton, Susanne R. Walley, Phyllis J. Kowalski, Deborah P. Lachina, Gail M. Greth and Timothy M.Dougherty. Middle row: Richard C. Beck, Michael G. Hartman, Nicholas M. Bentz, Wallace S. Scott, Thomas H. Xavios, andWilliam N. Hall, Jr. Top row: Michael J. Leonardziak, Thomas M. Gauby, Sr., Felix V. Stacherski, and Ronald C. Mest. Notpictured: Gloria W. Stitzel and Carol A. Stoudt.

  • 12

    case processing and financial accounting. Enhancementshave been made to the system to increase the utility andreliability of the system. In the spring of 2001, thin-clientdisplays were installed in all offices, including displaysspecifically for use by the district justices. This new desktopequipment allowed the district justices to access JNET, theCommonwealth of Pennsylvania Justice Network. TheAdministrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts providedtraining to the district justice staff on Microsoft Word andmatters related to the new thin-client displays. In the fall of2001, modems were installed in the offices to preventdowntime in the event of communications failures.

    Court Administration provides administrative support tothe district justices by preparing the systems operatingbudget, administering facility and equipment needs,assisting in personnel management, providing staff trainingand professional development, and assisting with casemanagement. In 2002, all district justice offices wereequipped with personal computers to facilitatecommunications between the district justice courts andother government agencies. In addition to achieving

    connectivity, the computers gave the offices access to thecounty warrants database as well as criminal and civilrecords from the Court of Common Pleas.

    The district justice system underwent a magisterialdistrict reestablishment in 2002 under the direction of thePresident Judge and in accordance with the guidelines setforth by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. Thereestablishment of magisterial districts was one of the areasstudied by the Intergovernmental Task Force To Study TheDistrict Justice System. The Task Force also reviewed specialcourts administration, the quality of justice dispensed by theminor judiciary, the administrative authority of the PresidentJudge over the minor judiciary, and security. The TaskForce, through its recommendations, provided the SupremeCourt with positive suggestions for improvements in thedistrict justice system.

    Faith Phillips serves as the Special Courts Administrator.District Justice Timothy M. Dougherty is the Special CourtJudges Association President. He replaced District JusticeGail M. Greth, who successfully completed four years in theposition.


    1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002

    Traffic 40,930 53,297 51,158 59,896 59,194 64,836

    Non-Traffic 10,602 11,691 11,938 13,878 19,440 22,972

    Criminal 5,431 5,930 6,060 6,961 6,822 6,855

    Private Criminal 5,108 6,409 5,920 6,180 4,349 2,438

    Civil 6,448 5,441 5,060 5,430 5,758 6,081

    Landlord/Tenant 1,908 2,076 2,150 2,313 2,555 2,660

    Total Case Filings 70,427 84,844 82,286 94,658 98,118 105,842

    District Justicesof the County of Berks

  • 13

    The Board of Judges hired DaleG. Derr as the 23rd JudicialDistrict Court Administrator inAugust 2001. He had formerly been aDeputy Court Administrator with theCommon Pleas Court. He isresponsible for the dailyadministration of the Common PleasCourt and the District Justice System,with oversight responsibilities forprobation and parole, domesticrelations, library, and court reporting.He is responsible for 413 Courtpersonnel with a payroll of $11.4 million, as part of anoverall operating budget of $20.2 million.

    The thousands of arrests, petitions, suits, motions,stipulations and applications must be processed timely andaccurately for all cases to be heard in accordance withCommonwealth or District guidelines. Cases are processedby the District Justices initially, unless directly waived intothe Common Pleas Court. Court Administration then assigns

    family, civil and criminal cases to the Common Pleasjudges. In turn, schedules and calendars are coordinatedwith each judge, courtrooms are assigned, required juriesare assembled, and support staff is assigned. Records arefiled with the Prothonotary (Civil and Family), Clerk ofCourts (Criminal and Juvenile), and the Register of Wills(Orphans Court). Court decisions are then entered into acentral database. The data collected is compiled andstatistics are reported to the President Judge and the StateCourt Administrator. The data is also made available tojudges who often use it to educate Berks citizens on thestate of its judiciary. Key court administrators included thefollowing: Cathy Marburger, Deputy Court Administrator

    Criminal and Civil Courts Faith Phillips, Special Court Administrator

    District Justices Tracy Barlet Deputy Court Administrator

    Resources and Technology Lisa Waldman, Esq., Deputy Court Administrator

    Family Courts

    Office Of The Court Administrator

    Assistant SpecialCourts AdministratorBarbara ONeil andSpecial CourtsAdminitrator Faith Phillips

    Family CourtsAdministrator Lisa Waldman, Esq.,AdministrativeSecretary Pam Miller andDomestic ViolenceProgram ManagerRachel Jacobsen

    Criminal/Civil Court AdministratorCathy Marburgerand JuryCommissioner Mark Gillen

    Deputy CourtAdministrator Tracy Bartlet andAdministrativeSecretary Marilyn Faughner

    Dale G. Derr, CourtAdministrator

  • ADULT PROBATION AND PAROLE The Berks County Adult Probation and Parole Office (APO)provides effective supervision services aimed at facilitatingthe integration of 5,800 convicted offenders into society;the contribution of information, recommendations, andcooperation to the Court; and to the protection,remuneration, and education of the community.

    APO supervised, counseled and referred to treatmentthose individuals sentenced to County probation, paroleor to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD)Program. Defendants were at least eighteen years of age orincluded those who were direct-filed or direct certified andtransferred from Juvenile Court. Probation officers provideeach Criminal Court judge with pre-sentence reports for aclearer understanding of the case and the defendantscriminal history. All persons convicted in the Court werephotographed and a history of all convictions has beenmaintained.

    Roger Luckenbill, Chief Probation Officer, led 56professional and support staff (8 Management/Administrative, 35 Probation Officers, 13 Office Support) inhelping to protect the community; collect fines, costs, andrestitution for victims; counsel offenders; coordinaterehabilitative programs; and advocate the Criminal JusticeSystem. He managed supervision and services from both ageneralist and specialist perspective. Ten officers supervisedgeneral caseloads, sixteen officers specialized, six officersconcentrated on Pre-Sentence Investigations and IntakeInterviews and three officers administered CommunityService.

    Programs and areas of specialization include:Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition ProgramAlcohol Safe Driving ProgramDriving Under the Influence (DUI) Supervision UnitDriving Under Suspension (DUS)/Program Community Service DivisionSecond Time Offenders Program (DUI Offenders)Interlock ProgramPre-Sentence Investigation and Intake UnitIntensive Supervision for Drug OffendersDUI Treatment Court ProgramInstitutional Parole OfficerHispanic ServicesSexual Offenders CaseloadProstitution Supervision CaseloadElectronic MonitoringIntermediate Punishment ProgramDomestic Violence Supervision Program

    Community Service was used by the Common Pleasand District Courts as an alternative sentence to servingtime in jail. The punishment was effectively used foroffenders of less severe crimes and mitigated the need formore jail space. A total of 2,192 individuals performed64,341 hours of community service for 323 nonprofitagencies throughout Berks

    Since 1993, APO has been actively involved in thedevelopment of the Intermediate Punishment Programming(IPP) pursuant to Act 193 of 1990. Many successfulinitiatives have been developed, allowing eligible offendersto be sentenced to IPP in lieu of incarceration. Programsinclude the use of electronic monitoring equipment,inpatient treatment facilities, halfway houses, communityservice, and intensive supervision of the offender.

    In conjunction with the Berks County Criminal JusticeAdvisory Group and with funding support from thePennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, APOadvanced the use of technology by employing imaging andvideoconferencing in their daily routine. Probation Officerscan interview and conduct Gagnon I Violation Hearingswith incarcerated defendants without having to travel to ajail or prison facility.

    Adult Probation and Parole participates in thePennsylvania Board of Probation and Paroles Standards ofCompliance. By successfully maintaining theCommonwealths required standards, the Probation andParole Department is reimbursed up to 52% of eligibleprofessional salaries.


    Left to right, Chief Adult Probation Officer RogerLuckenbill, Probation Officer Jeffrey Brown and AssistantChief Adult Probation Officer Nancy Xavios.

    Office Of The Court Administrator

  • 15

    2002 ADULT PROBATION AND PAROLE CASELOAD INFORMATION(All numbers reflect offenders, not cases)

    Status Active Inactive Absconder Supervised Totalout of

    Probation 1554 82 90 444 2170

    Parole 540 134 91 160 925

    Parole-DUI 564 22 19 81 686

    Probation/Parole 305 10 19 8 342

    Int. Punishment 229 4 14 18 265

    ARD 645 13 16 33 707

    ARD-DUI 661 3 1 22 687

    Total (12/31/01) 4498 268 250 766 5782


    1991 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002Total Caseload 3435 3669 3760 4213 4693 4698 5016(Minus out of County)


    1991 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002

    Pre-Sentence Investigations 2032 2455 2612 3018 3485 3711 3918

    ARD Interviews 1085 908 949 983 1178 1193 1227

    Parole Plan Investigations 988 1166 1222 1712 1878 1926 2191


    1991 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002Probation/Parole Violation 602 697 754 851 907 951 990Warrants Served (Technical Violations & New Arrests)

    2002 Court of Common Pleas Annual Report

  • 16

    JUVENILE PROBATION AND PAROLE The Berks County Juvenile Court heard misdemeanor andfelony crimes that were committed by youth between 10and 18 years of age. If found to have committed the offense,the Juvenile Court took many of these youth under thecare of the Court, and may retain jurisdiction until theyouth turn 21 years of age. The Juvenile Probation Officeprovides administrative and casework services on behalf ofthe Juvenile Court.

    The Juvenile Court has followed the principles ofBalanced and Restorative Justice since 1996, and seeks topay equal attention to the needs of the victim, thecommunity, and the offender. The Mission Statement of theJuvenile Probation Office reads as follows:

    We Are Committed to Public Safety, Justice forVictims, the Reparation of the Community andAccountability and Personal Development ofOffenders, with Respectful Treatment for AllInvolved.

    Juvenile Probation services were extended toapproximately 1,700 youth and literally thousands ofcommunity members by the combined efforts of a 70member staff of probation officers, clerical support, andtechnical personnel. Court service programs included: Intensive probation Drug and alcohol assessment and urinalysis screening Day treatment programs Electronic monitoring School-based probation Earthrise Enterprises (non-profit corporation that

    employs delinquent youth in a sheltered work experience)

    Job readiness training Community service Youth aid panels Victim/witness programs Trout Unlimited stream improvements Community garden work experience

    Left to right, Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Bruce Grim,Assistant Chief Juevenile Probation Officers Jeffrey Gregroand Russell Adam.



    Drug Offenses 242

    Offenses Against Financial Institution 48

    Offenses Against Person 429

    Offenses Against Property 769

    Other Offenses 81

    Referrals From Other Juristictions 79

    Sex Offenses 38

    Summary Offenses 199

    Weapon Offenses 105

    2002 TOTALS 1999

    Office Of The Court Administrator

  • 17




    1991 298 N/A 191 711 1,597

    1992 368 N/A 210 775 1,907

    1993 375 N/A 217 773 1,772

    1994 459 N/A 249 919 2,256

    1995 497 N/A 239 891 1,893

    1996 455 201 238 930 1,971

    1997 383 193 256 906 2,106

    1998 393 188 245 935 1,839

    1999 412 229 279 902 1,749

    2000 527 238 289 958 2,374

    2001 616 159 316 951 1,889

    2002 595 158 354 950 1,990

    *Total Placement On Probation (in Court) Includes Those On Probation, Informal Adjustment, Consent Decree, And ThoseTransferred From Institutions To Intensive Probation After Review. (see Table Vii) **Total Placed On Supervision (out Of Court) Include Those On Informal Adjustment And Consent Decree. (see Table Vi)


    1991 67,620.45 11,572.31 15,674.33 N/A 94,867.09

    1992 84,763.48 14,331.90 19,632.29 6,926.44 125,654.11

    1993 79,522.02 12,358.70 23,681.12 11,086.38 126,648.22

    1994 91,042.84 18,169.93 33,759.63 11,768.68 154,741.08

    1995 76,623.95 18,356.39 38,576.56 15,309.50 148,863.40

    1996 72,018.78 25,298.01 44,099.87 16,739.95 158,156.61

    1997 64,218.86 28,097.86 59,844.90 16,571.81 168,733.43

    1998 71,729.31 29,780.17 54,493.08 24,063.65 180,066.21

    1999 69,199.06 36,955.24 76,462.83 33,648.57 216,265.70

    2000 76,248.32 41,832.23 *77,915.56 **46,921.81 242,917.92

    2001 90,127.83 49,777.76 66,175.55 45,586.87 251,668.01

    2002 87,096.15 53,467.38 53,610.45 46,478.67 240,652.65

    *Includes $14,648.82 collected from District Justice Summary Offenders doing Community Service and Second ChanceProgram. ** One Hundred Fifty Four (154) Youth actually participated in the Restitution Incentive Program (R.I.P.) During 2002, andthey completed over 8,000 Community Service Hours for Non-profit Organizations. This resulted In 212 victims receivingrestitution in the Total Amount Of $51,226.77.

    2002 Court of Common Pleas Annual Report

  • 18

    DOMESTIC RELATIONS The Berks County Domestic Relations Section establishes,modifies and enforces orders of support and providescollection services for children and families in an effectiveand efficient manner, making prudent use of publicresources. The department provides accurate informationand professional, timely service by utilizing computerizationof data, automated call processing systems, web basedtechnology and other available sources of absent parentlocate information and enforcement remedies.

    The use of the three-tier order establishment and the two-tier enforcement systems enables the Domestic RelationsSection to resolve 90.4% of cases. Cases requiring JudicialHearings are reduced which saves money for county taxpayers.

    The remedies available to enforcement workers to collectsupport are implemented when traditional methods such asincome attachments or contempt of court conferences andhearings are exhausted or a bench warrant is in effect.Pennsylvania Act 58 of 1997 enacted the provisions of theWelfare Reform Act of 1996 such as the ability to suspendPennsylvania Drivers licenses, credit bureau reporting,financial institution data match, passport denial andprofessional license suspensions. These remedies areavailable to the enforcement officers in an automated mannerto ensure effective and efficient collection of support. Incomeattachments, 74% of total collections, remain the mosteffective enforcement and collection method.

    E-Commerce services advanced in February 2001 toenable clients to contact the office by email through aContact Us button on the local website. Within hours ofadding this function and without any publicity, emails werereceived. The 876 email inquiries in 2001 and 4,197 in 2002received an immediate answer to a clients questions, orwere forwarded to a specialist who replied within a fewdays. The surge in this area reflects the clients use of newtechnology to access services. There is substantial increasein the number of clients who are accessing their specificcase information on the PACSES Portal, an internet basedself service tool. Berks County DRS has served as a countyrepresentative for development of this Client Servicewebsite. The results of using technology to offer routineservices reduces the impact on front line staff by enablingthe clients with more difficult questions or those who lackaccess to the internet, more readily available services.

    The Berks County DRS website has been copied byseveral counties and has become a source of informationand ideas for further statewide and national enhancements.The listing of clients with Outstanding Bench Warrants onthe internet and in the local Sunday newspaper continues asa unique local innovation designed to obtain information,via E-Tips or phone calls, on the whereabouts of fugitives.This model technique has resulted in the capture of

    hundreds of fugitives and the collection of thousands ofdollars of child support.

    The implementation of the Pennsylvania Child SupportEnforcement System (PACSES), in Berks County in May 1998and statewide in February 1999, greatly enhanced thecapability of Domestic Relations to carry out our mission.Annual collections continue to rise, especially after the fullimplementation of the PACSES system. The efficiency of officepersonnel has been greatly enhanced by enabling a higherdegree of standardization as well as providing the automatedinvestigative and case management tools necessary to movecases along in the courts to final disposition.

    The automated tracking system, known as worker andsupervisory alerts, greatly reduce the likelihood of a caseremaining unresolved for lengthy periods of time and enhancea workers ability to meet federal performance standards.

    The welfare reform acts of 1988 and 1996 highlighted theimportance of automating child support enforcement forfamilies seeking a means to self-sufficiency. Collections forfamilies in 2002 totaled $45 million or 90% of total collections.

    Berks County DRS has a long history of implementinginnovations of service and contributing to the states effortsin the child support field. In August 2002, Pennsylvaniareceived the Outstanding Program Achievement Award fromthe National Child Support Enforcement Association(NCSEA). Berks County attended the national conferenceaward presentation and now displays the award in the DRSreception area. As a contributing partner to the states childsupport program, the employees have a rejuvenated drivefor further success.

    The challenge ahead for Domestic Relations will be theeffective integration with the Supreme Court Rule 1931 forFamily Court improvements and the Berks CountyCoordination of Services Task Force.

    Left to right, Domestic Relations Director Mark Poserina,Client Services Manager Tracy Christ and AdministrativeSecretary Norma Berrios.

    Office Of The Court Administrator

  • 19

    DOMESTIC RELATIONS CASES SCHEDULED1998 1999 2000 2001 2002

    Conferences to Establish Orders 5,125 6,729 7,555 7550 7549

    Hearings to Establish Orders 945 1,838 1,911 1,600 1896

    Judicial Hearings to Establish Orders 48 84 90 113 167

    Enforcement Conferences 2,713 7,214 10,582 10,277 11,276

    Judicial Hearings for Enforcement 1,191 1,293 1,686 2,428 1843

    Total Cases Scheduled 10,022 17,158 21,824 21,968 22,731


    Wage Attachments $37,100,228 74%Cash and Checks 7,134,808 14%IRS and State Tax Intercepts 1,979,645 4%Out of State Payments 1,444,249 3%Unemployment Comp 2,440,898 5%

    Total Collections $ 50,099,828


    1992 $27,363,9141997 $37,003,8361998 $35,386,6391999 $38,345,6742000 $44,465,8742001 $47,744,0052002 $50,099,828



    Foster Care


    Birthing Expense


    To Other States





    2002 Court of Common Pleas Annual Report

    Families $45,074,257 90%Welfare 2,218,355 4.4%Foster Care 1,317,087 2.6%Birthing Expense 220,819 0.4%To Other States 1,269,310 2.6%Total Collections $ 50,099,828

  • 20

    LAW LIBRARYThe Library of the Berks County Court of Common Pleas,established in 1859, is mandated by the PennsylvaniaJudicial Code to meet the needs of the judicial system andto be open to the public. Under the direction of the Board ofJudges and the District Court Administrator, the Librarystrives to fulfill the research requirements of the judicialsystem at the trial court level. Complete information service,including on-line database searching and interlibrary loan,is provided for the Librarys primary patrons. The generalpublic also makes frequent use of the Librarys collectionand services, including Internet access for legal research.The Library recently purchased 125 titles of the Nutshellseries, each of which gives a readable overview of a specificarea of the law.

    The Librarys card catalog was retired in 2000 andreplaced by a computer database which provides quickaccess to the collection. While the system is up andrunning, the staff continues to edit the original 2400 recordsin the database and to add new ones. The tables of contentsfrom our collection of over 800 Pennsylvania Bar Institute

    manuals have beenentered, allowing formore detailed searchingof this popular series.The process of barcoding every volume inthe Library in order toautomate inventory andcirculation procedurescontinues.

    In the year 2002,the Library circulated1475 volumes andadded 918 volumes tothe collection. Twenty-three interlibrary loantransactions werecompleted. The Librarys annual book and subscriptionbudget of $127,000 (2003) ensures that its resources aretimely and current.

    Law librarian, Linda Fisk

    Berks CountyCourthouse Law Library

    Office Of The Court Administrator

  • 21

    COURT REPORTERS Merle Meckley is the Chief Court Reporter and employs18 court reporters. The court reporters stenographicallyrecorded all proceedings brought before the Court ofCommon Pleas in 2001, and prepared transcripts of saidproceedings, as directed.

    The Exhibit/Evidence Storage Technician collected,logged and stored all exhibits marked by the court reporterson a daily basis. The employee is also the VideoConferencing Operator. He operated video conferencingequipment used for arraignments involving inmates in BerksCounty Prison. Various offices and private counsel used theequipment to interview clients in Berks County Prison, aswell as those housed at various Pennsylvania StateCorrectional Institutions and correctional institutionsthroughout the United States.

    In 1981, Berks County was the first courthouse in theCommonwealth of Pennsylvania to use a Computer AidedTranscription (CAT) system. Today, all court reporterscurrently utilize the latest state-of-the-art CAT software andequipment, which allows for the completion of alltranscripts within 14 days of the date a transcript is ordered.

    The Court Reporters handle in excess of 25,000 cases inover 2,500 court days per year, producing 62,082 pages oftranscript in 1999; 55,666 pages in 2000; 42,068 pages in2001; and 51,870 pages in 2002 (See Figure 1).

    The cost of preparing transcripts in 1999 was $110,161,of which $42,330 was reimbursed by non-indigent parties;in 2000 was $140,462, of which $70,730 was reimbursed; in2001 was $97,601, of which $35,829 was reimbursed; and in2002 was $128,314, of which $55,673 was reimbursed (SeeFigure 2).

    Left to right, Evidence Technician William Eveland, CourtReporter Karen Moran and Chief Court Reporter MerleMeckley.










    1999 2000 2001 2002

    Figure 1. Pages of Transcript Produced







    1999 2000 2001 2002

    Figure 2. Transcript Costs

    2002 Court of Common Pleas Annual Report

  • Berks County Court of Common Pleas633 Court Street, Reading, PA 19601www.berkscourts.us