Biographical Information on Dems Seeking Judicial Seats on Court of Common Pleas

In 2019, there are 4 open seats on the 21-judge bench of the Court of Common Pleas. Currently that bench is entirely Republican. In 2017, Delco’s Democratic candidate came within 1 percentage point of placing a single Democrat on the court.  That was with just one seat open.  With four seats open this time around, 2019 can be our history-making year. Below are the Democrats seeking endorsement from the Delco Dems at the nominating convention on Feb. 24. They all spoke at the Haverford Democrats’ meeting on January 8.  Below are brief biographies and very brief summaries of their remarks at the meeting. 

Remember: all elected Democratic Party Committee members are expected to attend and vote in the endorsement process. If you are not an elected Committee member but want to share your views of these candidates with your representative to the convention, go to the Ward Organizations page to see your ward leader’s email and the names of all Committee in your ward and precinct.

G. Lawrence DeMarco:  The founder and host of Delaware County Political News on YouTube, DeMarco interviews public officials, political candidates, and policy experts on issues relevant to the county.  A partner in DeMarco & DeMarco, P.C., with offices in downtown Philadelphia and Havertown, he specializes in litigation involving workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, sexual assault, and personal injury.  DeMarco has a B.A. from Dickinson College, a law degree from Villanova and post-graduate degree from Temple Law School in Trial Advocacy.  He served as Democratic Committee in Philadelphia, 1999-2007 and has been on Democratic Committee in Nether Providence since 2010.  He also served a two-year term as chair of the Nether Providence Democrats.  DeMarco lives in Wallingford with his wife and two sons, ages 16 and 2. 

            Creation of “Political News” on YouTube just one example of lifetime of civic engagement as a Democrat. Has experienced the power of the well-financed Republican machine, stood up to the Republican-controlled Delco Bar Association, and will not cross-file because he will not wear the “toxic” Republican label.  Degree in trial advocacy educated him in what judge needs to know.

Kelly Eckel:  A partner at the Duane Morris LLP law firm in Philadelphia, Eckel specializes in civil matters.  Since being selected to serve as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association in 2010, much of her legal practice has involved serving as a private judge in range of civil disputes.  She was the sole Democratic candidate for Court of Common Pleas in 2017, winning more votes than any prior Democratic candidate running for that judgeship.   Eckel has a BA from Harvard University, a law degree from Temple Law School, and clerked for a federal judge before joining Duane Morris 20 years ago.  A resident of Upper Providence Township, Eckel and her husband swim with the U.S. Masters Swimming Organization. She has served on the board of Newtown Square’s Suburban Seahawks Swim Club, and both of her teenage daughters are competitive swimmers.

            2017 run for Court of Common Pleas fell short by just one percentage point; best tally ever for a Democratic candidate for this office.  Inspired to run again by other Dem’ victories and her own strong showing. Seeks to bring impartiality and judicial independence to the court because the current court is not listening to people’s stories; people do not feel heard in the courtroom.  Listening is the most important thing a judge can do.  Having lived all over the world and the U.S. has taught her to appreciate the value of different people’s stories. 

Mike Farrell:  In addition to his work as an attorney in private practice in Media, Farrell also serves on the Advisory Council for ‘Rev Up,’ a program run by the American Association of People with Disabilities that seeks to increase the participation of disabled citizens in elections.  He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus in his local parish and served for 10 years as Second Lieutenantin the U.S. Army Reserves.  Farrell earned a B.A. in economics and political science from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. degree from Cornell University Law School.  He is an elected Democratic Party Committee member, was a candidate for state senate in 2006 and 2010, and ran for a judgeship on the Court of Common Pleas in 2007.  Farrell lives in Springfield. 

Pointed to his “on paper” qualifications as a lawyer who has handled all kinds of cases up to the appellate level and done both arbitration and mediation work.  But most important preparation has been exposure to wise, “common sense” judges, such as the one he met when volunteering for ACLU to defend a Muslim mother denied visitation with her imprisoned son because she would not remove her hajib. That judge cut through the red tape to do the right thing.  Feels this basic empathy for the human condition is missing from current court. People need to be heard by judges who listen and do the right thing. 

William ‘Al’ Jacobs:  In his second term on Council for the City of Chester where he is also Director of Public Safety overseeing an $11 million budget for the Fire Department, Bureau of Health, and License & Inspection Department. Jacobs is an attorney in Media with Kenneth R. Schuster & Associates.  He serves as the Solicitor for Chester Township and as an attorney for the Chester-Upland School District’s Hearing Board.  He has a B.S. degree from Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, an M.A. in Political Science from Howard University, and a J.D. degree from Widener University School of Law.  He served for eight years as the Assistant Public Defender in the Media court system.  Jacobs lives in Chester and is the father of five. 

Has experience with losing when Republicans in control in Chester and experience with standing fast out of determination to turn Chester around.  Hard work with registering voters and voter turnout put Democrats in power in Chester. Brings that determination to this judicial race because Delco defendants and their lawyers need an independent, unbiased judiciary now, one that does not, for example, use its administrative power to trip up attorneys with petty scheduling tricks.

Jacquie Jones:  A lawyer in Delaware County since earning her law degree from Georgetown University in 2000, she is the proprietor of Jones & Associates Law PC in Media.  Jones is currently a Director on the Chichester School Board, a member of the board of the Ray of Hope Foundation sponsored by her church, St. Daniel’s United Methodist, and a member of the service-based Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.  Prior to attending law school, Jones graduate from Chichester High School in Delaware County and earned a B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan University.  She lives with the two daughters she adopted after her brother’s death. 

Lifelong Delco resident who returned home with Georgetown law degree because her brother’s arrest and later murder, as well as her fight for custody of his kids, made clear the array of  judicial problems in Delco. Illustrated need to break Republican hold by noting she was advised to register Republican if she wanted to make it as a lawyer in Delco. Having had “the worst moments of my life in Delco County courthouses,” and defending clients for almost 20 years, she knows we must choose judges with compassion and integrity.

Stephanie Klein: Magisterial District Judge for Media, Nether Providence, and Swarthmore for 18 years (1995-2013), she was the first woman and the first Democrat elected to that post and was re-elected twice in a Republican majority district.  Currently a mediator and arbitrator in civil matters with ADR Options, Klein is experienced with cases involving veterans’ benefits, unemployment and Social Security benefits, tenant rights, the homeless, and domestic violence.  She reorganized the Delco Legal Assistance program in the city of Chester, chairs the Pro Bono Committee and co-chairs the Women in the Law Committee for the Delaware County Bar Assoc., and sits on the board of Legal Aid of Southeast PA.  A graduate of SUNY-Binghamton with a law degree from the Washington College of Law, American University in Washington, D.C., she lives in Nether Providence with her husband, David Landau, and their two adult daughters. 

            Has long experience with defending clients who have no power or privilege and working with similar defendants as Magisterial Judge. Experiences taught her that people have no chance in court without lawyers and judges who want to make the process transparent and genuinely want to hear about mitigating circumstances so judgments are fair and proportionate. Good judges know that we all have our prejudices.  Must recognize them and park them at the courtroom door before going into court.  Judicial fairness is our measure as a people.

Lloyd Long III is a civil rights and criminal defense attorney in Philadelphia.  He gained his experience in criminal law from working as an Assistant District Attorney in Philadelphia, as a law partner in the firm Krasner, Hughes, and Long, and in his current private practice.  Long graduated from LaSalle College High School and St. Joseph’s University before attending Rutgers University School of Law in Camden, where he graduated with honors and was the Articles Editor for the Rutgers Journal of Law and Urban Policy.  He has tried dozens of jury trials, brought hundreds of bench trials to verdict, and handled over two hundred cases in Pennsylvania’s appellate courts. Mr. Long resides in Nether Providence with his wife, Michelle, and their children, Olivia and Gabrielle.

Rick Lowe: Swarthmore’s first Democratic mayor, 2010-2014, and Swarthmore Borough Solicitor, 1997-2000, Lowe now resides in Middletown Township.  He has served on Committee for the MidCounty Democrats, has been an Election Protection lawyer for years, and has helped lead the Credentials Committee at recent Delco Dems nominating conventions.  With a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D. from New York University, Lowe  is a partner at the Duane Morris LLP law firm in Philadelphia where he specializes in construction matters.  He sits on the Board of the American College of Construction Lawyers and has served on its Diversity Committee.  As a volunteer at SCI Phoenix maximum security prison, Lowe has designed and taught a course on the U.S. Constitution and is currently the outside liaison for inmates seeking legislation seeking parole eligibility for “lifers.”  Rick lives with his wife Margie McAboy.  His two daughters both work in Pennsylvania on transportation issues. 

            Long career as lawyer has taught him to deal with complex matters requiring complex decisions.  Ten years working as mediator and arbitrator just one part of his desire to “give back” to his community.  Early sex discrimination case got him interested in legal work that aims to give everybody a fair shot.  Experience as Swarthmore mayor receiving police reports and years as a prison volunteer working directly with inmates have only impressed upon him the absolute need to establish justice for all. 

Leo Pall: An attorney in Upper Darby, this is Pall’s first run for public office.  He has worked as a lawyer in Delaware County for 35 years.  In his current practice, he takes on criminal defense cases, divorce and family law cases, as well as personal injury and real estate cases. Pall has a B.S. degree from the University of Scranton and a J.D. from the Columbus School of Law at The Catholic University of America.  He lives in Havertown with his wife and has three grown children and four grandchildren. 

Decades of broad experience helping clients with family law issues like divorce, child custody, and child support as well as criminal cases and cases involving motor vehicles and real estate, wills and estates.  Has been in court thousands of times and often sits as chair in arbitration cases that involve amounts of $50,000 or less. Points to his experience as lawyer, husband, father, and grandfather as preparation for the bench.

Nusrat Rashid: An attorney in her own practice in the City of Chester, Rashid specializes in criminal and family law.  After clerking for a judge in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia County and working as an associate in two different law firms for a dozen years, she opened The Rashid Firm in 2010, representing both private and court-appointed clients in court. Rashid has served as acting Zoning Solicitor for Chester Township. She grew up in York, PA., earned a B.A. at Swarthmore College and graduated from Temple University School of Law.  Rashid has been on the board of her neighborhood civic association, supervised a college scholarship program, and worked with the Delaware County Bar Association on its outreach program in the Chester public schools.  She is a widow, the mother of three children, aged 10-20, and lives in Chester Township.   

Emphasized the “courage” required to do the right thing when everyone wants you to do the wrong thing, go into a courtroom that has judges on the bench who are there as political cronies, deal with clients who cry every day because of what they have endured, and stand  up to say your client’s rights will be trampled no more.  Courage is the root of integrity and it’s time for integrity on the Court of Common Pleas.  Citizens need to see every good thing the law stands for. They need judges who respect them and appreciate the value of “restorative justice” and community-based programs.