The Pennsylvania Bar Association has given its coveted “highly recommended” rating to Beaver County Common Pleas Judge Deborah Kunselman for a position on the Superior Court. Voters across the state will be electing judges to fill four positions on the court this year.

The state bar association issued the following statement about Judge Kunselman:

“The candidate serves as an administrative judge for the Civil Division of the Beaver County Court of Common Pleas. Prior to her tenure on the court, she was a litigator practicing in a variety of areas, including family law and employment discrimination. From 1998 to 2005, she served as Beaver County solicitor. She was elected to the Court of Common Pleas in 2005. During her tenure on the bench, she has been responsible for a variety of judicial efficiencies, including clearing up a significant docket backlog. She was also responsible for the implementation of the Beaver County involuntary commitment program for minors requiring drug and alcohol treatment.

“Her colleagues describe her as professional, knowledgeable, fair and prepared. The candidate has a writing style that is clear and easy to follow. She has extensive community involvement and has taught courses for both professional and lay audiences. Because of her experience as a practicing attorney, extensive teaching experience, proven record of judicial leadership and strong dedication to improving the quality of justice, the commission is confident that the candidate would serve with distinction as a Superior Court justice and highly recommends her candidacy.”

Judge Kunselman’s completed questionnaire submitted to the bar association as part of its consideration process can be read here.

While the Pennsylvania Bar Association bestowed its “highly recommended” rating on Judge Kunselman, the other major contender for Superior Court from Western Pennsylvania did not fair as well. Attorney William F. Caye II of Allegheny County was rated as “not recommended” by the association, which accompanied its review with a scathing statement about the candidate:

“The candidate was admitted to the bar in 1994 and worked as a law clerk for a U.S. District Court judge. From 1995 to 1998, he was as an assistant district attorney. In late 1998 and 1999, the candidate was an associate at several law firms and performed work that primarily focused on criminal law and juvenile delinquency. Between 1999 and 2005, he was as a solo practitioner focusing on transactional and regulatory compliance law. From 2006 until 2015, he worked as a prosecutor in the Child Predator Unit in the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. After working his way up to senior deputy attorney general, he left the Attorney General’s Office and returned to private practice.

“After reviewing the candidate’s record and based in part on his interview, the commission has concerns about the candidate’s presentation skills, his temperament, his inability to accurately recall events and his overall writing skills. Some attorneys who know him questioned his work ethic and judgment. During the interview, the candidate was evasive when responding to direct and pertinent questions. At times when pressed for answers, he raised his voice inappropriately. When questioned about past instances of his reported courtroom behavior, the candidate blamed the court and other counsel, failing to take any responsibility for his actions. This and other responses displayed a lack of professional maturity and raised questions about his temperament and collegiality. The candidate also demonstrated an inadequate awareness about the Superior Court’s operations. For example, when asked about how he might change the court, he suggested that it should become less formal and more accommodating for postponements, less strict about time limits during oral argument and more accommodating to the litigants. When asked to reconcile how his suggestions would impact the court’s already heavy caseload, the candidate was unable to provide an intelligible answer. With regard to his writing skills, the candidate’s responses to the questionnaire provided no indication that he has any cognizance of a formal writing style. The candidate’s other writing samples were also problematic, demonstrating a lack of ability to convey thoughts in a concise and clear manner.

Based on all of the above, the commission does not recommend his candidacy for Superior Court.”


    • Michael Wallace: You can’t even spell the name right, moron.
      You think she sucks??? So does your mother. And I spelled MOTHER right, jackass.

      • leave Mr Wallace alone i know Mr Wallace he is on the IQ scale what you would consider—–Imbecile-(a stupid person)

  1. In my opinion shes still ugly as fuck . Her & husband ignorant as fuck to there neighbors harassing them on Radcliff Dr.

  2. Im sure she was awesome to all the ladies that came in front of her for custody. She was worthless to every decent guy that wanted to be apart of his child’s life.

  3. She’s an absolutely fantastic judge. She saved my life in a very horrific custody situation and I owe the successfulness of my future (graduated college summa cum laude, landed a position in a phenomenal grad program, pursuing a PhD) to her compassion when I was in middle school. Without her, according to the police report that I read when I was 18, I would be dead. Thanks Judge K. You’re truly a wonderful person and I will never forget sitting in your chambers and you listening to me. You made me believe in the justice system.

    • Gee, Beth. “…graduated college summa cum laude, landed a position in a phenomenal grad program, pursuing a PhD…”


      And irrelevant.

      Did you bigly vote for Trump too?

  4. Debbie is a well balanced qualified and experienced JUDGE.

    She would make a great JUDGE at next level and with age she would sitting in prime position to be on SUPREME BENCH BY MID 50s.

    Would be nice to have someone from Beaver County in there.

    More so she is a good person that’s not fake and she can relate to everyone.

  5. Kunselman is an excellent judge. I have witnessed her professionalism several times and believe her to be honest and fair, quite down to earth. The recommendation is well-deserved.

  6. I don’t know her and have had no dealings with her, but based on these “pro” and “anti” comments and the high number of thumbs down, it appears she must be doing her job and has pissed some people off in the process. Way to go Debbie.

  7. Judge Debbie Kunselman is a true jurist. She has been a compassionate and fair Judge for the last 10 years while she served as a Common Pleas Court Judge In Beaver County. She overcame one, disgruntled litigant with lots of money to bash her in her retention bid, just because he did not receive a favorable opinion. We, in Beaver County, should be proud that one of us is running for the Superior Court of PA. You have the support of not only the PA Bar Association, but your local, Beaver County Bar Association, as well.

  8. I guess I have an opinion based on pros and cons.

    I served on a jury in 2016 where Judge Kunselman presided.

    On the positive side, I thought she did a good job managing the trial and communicating to the jury. On the negative side, more than once during the trial, she nodded off on while sitting on the bench. On one day, well, OK maybe. But doing this across multiple days was a surprising to me.

    Not sure what to think about this rating.

    • Fell asleep while on the bench! How unacceptable ! On what did base her ruling? On her dreams? I wouldn’t want her on bench, if I ever went to court. How does she get support from PA bar association and the Beaver County Bar or do they feel this is acceptable?

      • She did not rule on this case. The jury ruled on this case based on the evidence presented by the lawyers on both sides and the instructions from Judge Kunselman. In that case her job was to assure that the lawyers presented evidence and information in a legal way and to also assure that the jury understood their role, responsibilities and laws relevant to the case. As I said, she did this job well. However, the nodding off was truly surprising and came up in the juror’s deliberation room.



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