York County Common Pleas Court Judge John C. Uhler has been picked by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati to serve on the Interbranch Commission charged with reviewing juvenile justice laws and procedures in the wake of extensive judicial corruption in Luzerne County.
Senator Lisa Baker, the first state legislator to call for reforms to the system following the guilty pleas entered by two Luzerne County judges, has high praise for Judge Uhler.
“Judge Uhler has earned wide respect for the quality of his work, his sense of ethics, and his commitment to excellence in juvenile justice. People in the legal system and my York County colleagues all believe he is the right person for this serious undertaking. In this time of corruption and crisis, we are counting on his leadership and experience to help find the right answers,” Baker said.
“Even though Pennsylvania’s juvenile justice system is highly regarded, our county suffered from extensive and shocking corruption. The commission has to consider ways to better safeguard the rights of juveniles and ways to exercise greater oversight so that any future corrupt practices are caught early,” she stated.
“At the end of this process, I believe that legislators will have to make changes in state law, the courts will need to upgrade their procedural rules, and the bureaucracy will have to monitor the system more carefully,” Baker concluded.
John C. Uhler, Judge – Biography
Judge Uhler was elected to the bench in November of 1989. For the past 19 years, he has served as a Juvenile Court Judge amongst his many other duties. He was President Judge in York County from November 1995 to January 2001. He also served as Chairman of the President Judges for the State Trial Conference, President of the Juvenile Court Section, and was a consultant for the Juvenile Bench Book. Judge Uhler sat as a member of the Judicial Ethics Committee for the State Conference of Trial Judges. He initiated the Commonwealth’s first Juvenile Mental Health Court, and leads York County’s Truancy Task Force. Recently, he was appointed by Governor Ed Rendell to the State Council for Interstate Juvenile Supervision. Judge Uhler has also received a variety of awards including the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission Court Operated Program of the Year (2005) for his Juvenile Mental Health Court, and the Crispus Attucks Aunt Lovie Award. Prior to his career on the bench, Judge Uhler worked as Senior Law Clerk in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania; an Assistant United States Attorney; as York County District Attorney from 1978 until 1982, and he maintained an active general law practice. Judge Uhler received his undergraduate degree from Bucknell University and his J.D. from Dickinson School of Law.
Contact: Jennifer Wilson