The public is welcome to observe as a three-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court sits in a special argument session at Penn State University's Dickinson School of Law in University Park on April 1 and 2. Judge Cheryl Lynn Allen, a Penn State alumna, helped initiate the special session. “The court often conducts sessions in counties throughout Pennsylvania. The courtroom at the Law School gives us an opportunity to welcome Penn State students as well as the county’s high school students and members of the public and the local legal community,” she said. During the two-day event, the Superior Court panel will hear oral argument in more than thirty cases involving matters of civil, criminal, and family law. Lawyers from both sides will present arguments on behalf of their clients and answer questions from the judges.
“The session is a wonderful opportunity for the public to see this appellate court in action,” said The Hon. Thomas K. Kistler '82, president judge of the Centre County Court of Common Pleas, who is helping to organize the events, which include educational sessions for law students and local members of the bar. The Superior Court is one of two statewide intermediate appellate courts and ordinarily sits in Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh. Superior Court judges are elected to ten-year terms.
Arguments will begin at approximately 10:00 a.m. and conclude at 4:00 p.m. on both days. This event will take place in the Apfelbaum Courtroom of the Lewis Katz Building in University Park, PA, and be simulcast to Law School facilities in Carlisle, PA. A full schedule is available online.
About the Judges
Three members of the Superior Court will hear arguments in more than thirty cases over the two-day argument period. (Case summaries will be posted online shortly before the event.)
- The Hon. Cheryl Lynn Allen graduated from Penn State's College of Education in 1969 and spent three years teaching in Pittsburgh Public Schools. In October she was named an Alumni Fellow, the highest award given by the Penn State Alumni Association. She began her legal career as a staff attorney at Neighborhood Legal Services and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and spent most of her legal career as an assistant county solicitor and in private practice before her appointment to the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas in 1990. She was elected to a full term in 1991 and in 2002 she was appointed to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's Juvenile Court Judges Commission. She was elected to the Pennsylvania Superior Court in 2007. She is the first and only African American woman elected to the Court.
- The Hon. Christine L. Donohue is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University and holds a J.D. from Duquesne University School of Law. From 1980 to 2007 she worked in private legal practice. She is a former chair of the Pennsylvania Board of Law Examiners, a former judge on the Court of Judicial Discipline, and a former member of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. She was elected to the Superior Court in 2007.
- The Hon. Sallie Updyke Mundy is a graduate of Washington and Jefferson College and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. She worked in private practice from 1988 to 2009, including several years at McQuaide, Blasko in State College, PA. She served as a member of the Disciplinary Hearing Committee from 1995 to 2001 and was a member of the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTA) board from 1997 to 2003. She was elected to the Superior Court in 2009.
Additional events for lawyers and future lawyers
Two additional events are planned for people who are interested in legal careers:
- “Meet the Clerks,” a chance for law students and aspiring law students to learn more about clerkships, is set for 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday. This event is free but an RSVP is requested.
- “Effective Advocacy before the Superior Court,” an event for lawyers, law students, and Penn State students, will feature members of the court discussing courtroom techniques. The event is set for Wednesday at 4 p.m. CLE credits will be available for attorneys. This event is free for anyone not seeking CLE credit.