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To the Legal: The [ Philadelphia] Daily News’ Editorial Board has committed the cardinal journalistic sin of utilizing a whipping boy to make a political point without having all the facts. The Daily News’ Editorial Board, as usual, did not allow the whipping boy, aka Judge Deborah Griffin, to explain her side of the story before publishing its screed for merit selection. Merit selection, in and of itself, is a laudable goal, but using the quo warranto case against Judge Griffin to show how the present system needs changes is untenable. Judge Griffin is fighting for her judicial and legal career because that is how her parents raised her. Judge Griffin had a tough but lovable upbringing, which allowed her to attend and graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, attend and graduate from the Missouri School of Law and attend Oxford University to study comparative law while at the Missouri School of Law. As Judge Griffin’s attorneys, including Samuel Stretton and myself, have argued in court, Judge Griffin’s early adult life involved being married to a drug-addicted and abusive husband who actually caused Judge Griffin to be arrested to avoid responsibility for his criminal behavior. Luckily, federal Judge John Keenan, the judge who presided over her federal case, gave her a second chance. Judge Keenan “suspended imposition of sentence” and placed Judge Griffin on three years probation. We, Stretton and myself, are arguing that Judge Griffin is not a convicted felon. Judge Griffin spent her three years of probation going to, doing well at and graduating from law school. Judge Keenan allowed Judge Griffin to travel to England to attend Oxford University while she was on probation because he knew she earned it. Judge Griffin paid her debt to the Pennsylvania bar and to the public when these matters were disclosed in the mid-1990s. Judge Griffin lost her license to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Court for three years but was allowed to practice in federal court because the federal authorities specifically refused to suspend her license. Judge Griffin did not whine, pout or give up. Rather she worked hard to support her two boys and to rebuild her reputation. Judge Griffin was reinstated by the Supreme Court of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania after a thorough vetting of her character and fitness to practice. Judge Griffin’s clients, opponents and adversaries, as well as judges she appeared before, did not complain about her representation or competence. Stretton and I have helped Judge Griffin fight this battle since she took her oath of office in 2001. Since 2001, Judge Griffin has been an excellent judge whom the public chose to retain in 2007 for another term commencing in 2008. Judge Griffin has always worked as an “outsider” to improve the system for herself and other similarity situated working mothers. She was not an endorsed candidate in 1999, although the Republican Party did endorse her in 2001. She was not the “darling” of some powerful political entity that championed her candidacy. Judge Griffin never sought the endorsement of the Philadelphia Bar Association or the local media, rather, she took her case to the people, exposed her entire career clearly, she was fully vetted by the people and they decided to elect her. She has not disappointed them with scandal, poor work habits, intemperate behavior or poor rulings, rather, she has rewarded their faith and belief in her by being an excellent sitting judge, who has life experiences that a “political merit selection” system would not and could not evaluate. The Daily News’ editorial got it wrong in trying to use Judge Griffin as their whipping boy against the judicial election process and in favor of merit selection. Judge Griffin is the type of judge that makes us all proud because she has shown that Judge Keenan was right to give Deborah Griffin a second chance to become the Honorable Judge Griffin. Willie Lee Nattiel Jr. Senior Partner Nattiel Seay & Associates

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