The Philadelphia Bar Association will honor the Honorable Sheila Woods-Skipper, LAW ’83, President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, with the 2015 Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Distinguished Jurist Award. The award will be conferred at the Association’s Annual Meeting Luncheon on December 8, 2015.
Also set to be honored are A. Harold Datz, LAW ’72, and David Richman, who is a member of the adjunct faculty. Datz and Richman will receive the PNC Achievement Award in honor of their significant accomplishments in improving the administration of justice.
The Brennan Award recognizes a jurist who adheres to the highest ideals of judicial service. President Judge Woods-Skipper served as a Supervising Judge of the Criminal Trial Division, and her assistance was instrumental in the creation of the First Judicial District Mental Health Court over which she presides. President Judge Woods-Skipper was unanimously elected by her colleagues to serve as President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in 2013.
“Since becoming President Judge, and in an effort to promote community outreach, access to the courts and transparency, President Judge Woods-Skipper has created several initiatives. One such volunteer initiative is for First Judicial District employees and judges alike to both donate time to feeding the homeless at local soup kitchens and resources to the school children of Philadelphia through the donation of much needed school supplies,” wrote Judge Karen Yvette Simmons, of the Philadelphia Municipal Court in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, in materials nominating President Judge Woods-Skipper.
A. Harold Datz has served the greater Philadelphia community as an assistant district attorney and, as a private practitioner, continues serving the legal community. As the 2015 chair, during a record year of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Commission on Judicial Selection and Retention, he is dedicated to investigating and evaluating individuals seeking election to the Court of Common Pleas and Municipal Court of Philadelphia County.
David Richman is co-founder of the Pennsylvania Innocence Project and has served as chair since its inception. He was appointed lead counsel for a class of prisoners in Harris v. City of Philadelphia, challenging over-crowded prison conditions in 1982. After 18 years, his work led to the closing of Holmesburg Prison and eventually, the opening of new prison facilities.
Pictured above, from left: President Judge Sheila Woods-Skipper, A. Harold Datz, David Richman. Image credit: Philadelphia Bar Association.