Two Candidates, Four Questions, One Set Of Answers ...
Pottstown Patch attempted to interview both candidates for the Magisterial District Justice 38-1-11 race.
The Pottstown area district judge race promises to be a tight one as Judith Nealy Watts and Scott Palladino square off for the seat vacated by Palladino's father Thomas Palladino.
Both candidates cross-filed in the May primary. Watts won the Democratic nomination and Palladino got the GOP nod.
To encapsulate the race before voters hit the polls tomorrow, Pottstown Patch sought to ask each candidate four identical -- on the spot -- questions for a head-to-head comparison.
However, questions for Palladino were addressed by Rick Neff, Palladino's campaign manager. Neff asked for the questions in advance, citing possible ethical implications. Pottstown Patch denied that request.
"Judges are held to different standards than other candidates," Neff said.
Neff said he would contact Palladino regarding an interview. As of publish time, neither Palladino nor Neff responded to Pottstown Patch's request.
Watts' answers follow:
Pottstown Patch: What qualifications do you have that make you the best choice for district judge?
Watts: My qualifications are that I've been around for almost 17 years. I worked in the DA's office in Chester County … for over eight years. I was a prosecutor there and an assistant DA. I then went into private practice … I did all kinds of cases, except for bankruptcy. So I've done civil cases for defense and I've done criminal cases for defense and I've also worked for a public defenders office for many years as a special assistant to him … I've done preliminary hearings for people out at district court- like in Pottstown, Limerick, around the local area. When they have a hearing at the district judge level, I go out and do those hearings ... So I've been in that courtroom, in the district court, thousands of times, both as a prosecutor and as a defender in private and through the public defender's office.
Pottstown Patch: Why did you decide to run for district judge?
Watts: I feel like I've been preparing for this for many years. I've had a very good legal career. I think it is a natural progression to want to go to the next level, which is district judge.
Pottstown Patch: What do you hope to achieve if you are elected?
Watts: I hope to achieve efficiency within the office, run the office and operate the office with a very minimal backlog of cases. I hope, I expect to treat everyone with fairness when they come in front of me and treat everyone with respect, make it a place where everyone can come in and say what it is they need to say, be heard and know that they have gotten a fair deal.
Pottstown Patch: What would you like voters to know about you before they hit the polls?
Watts: I would like them to know my background, that I've paid my dues in the courtroom as a trial attorney. I've learned the law. I've taught the law and been a professor at different colleges around the area ... My qualifications and my legal experience will allow me to go into the position without a big learning curve. I can go in and do the job and do it well from day one. I think that puts me above my opponent.