1 Liberty City LGBT Democratic Club 2015 Judicial Primary Election Questionnaire Please return to by March 9, 2015 Name: VINCE GIUSINI Campaign Address: SUITE WALNUT STREET PHILADELPHIA, PA Office Sought: JUDGE Phone number: Date: 3/18/15 BACKGROUND QUESTIONS 1. Please attach a copy of your resume to your completed questionnaire. ATTACHED 2. What rating have you received from the Pennsylvania Bar Association and/or the Philadelphia Bar Association? "RECOMMENDED" 3 TIMES IN 2009, 2011 and I am awaiting recommendation for 2015, as candidates are still being considered. I appear before the Commission on March 20 th. I expect to be recommended again. 3. What is your experience with the LGBT community both generally and/or professionally? Please provide specific examples. My experience with the LGBT Community has been through, family, friendships and professional colleagues. My experiences have been rewarding and enlightening. I have found members of the community to be friendly, hardworking and honest, almost without exception. Professionally, I have represented many members of this community in matters ranging from discrimination to purchasing of real estate as individuals and couples, including
2 many as a court appointed attorney, at a fraction of what my legal services would cost. I would describe my experience as very positive with the LGBT community. 4. Do you employ any openly LGBT people on your campaign staff or other staff? YES 5. How are you best qualified for the bench? I believe I am best qualified to hold the position of judge because of certain qualitites I possess. Those qualities are, very high legal ability, the highest ethical rating possible in the legal community, 29 years of trial experience, more than two (2) decades as a community activist and organizer and a career of representing the poor, underprivileged and discriminated against. I believe I have the best qualifications of any candidate in the race, based upon my professional experience. 6. What is the general nature of your legal practice, and what are your particular areas of concentration? I have been a general practitioner and trial attorney for 29 years. During those 29 years, my practice has been focused in the areas of dependency law, criminal law, wills and trusts, family law and personal injury law. 7 Describe a few of the most significant cases that you have litigated. Please give a summary of the substance of each case, the citations if available, and explain why you believe that each such case was significant. A. In the Interest of K.Z.S. (Appeal of: C.V.S., Mother), 2008 Pa.Super 62; 946 A.2d 753 (2008) (Published Opinion) Represented minority mother who appealed the termination of her parental rights. Also, represented mother in underlying proceedings for several years, as Court Appointed Dependency Counsel. The appeal was denied, but the case is significant as to the issue of bonding and the dissenting opinion of Judge Klein, although dicta, is relied upon in Dependency Trial Courts. Child was represented by Jonathan Q. Irvine, Esquire (Philadelphia, PA ) and Department of Human Services was represented by Lisa C. Harding, Esquire (Philadelphia City Solicitors Office ). Trial Judge Frank Palumbo. Trial dates November 3, 2006 and May 21, B. Elizabeth Fiore v. Commonwealth of PA, et.al. (Not Published)
3 Represented elderly Plaintiff in a personal injury case, who tripped as a result of an improperly constructed handicap ramp. The case was litigated in Philadelphia County in The Case was significant because it imposed a duty on the State to protect the elderly who are not physically handicapped, when they transgress handicapped ramps at intersections. The State was represented by John J. Calabro, Esquire, Senior, Deputy Attorney General, 21 S. 12th Street, Third Floor, Philadelphia, PA , (215) and was settled before trial. C. Thomas Rodriguez v. J& J Snack Foods Corporation (Not published) Represented significantly injured minority Plaintiff in a Personal Injury Case, who was struck by a forklift. Case was venued in Camden County Superior Court. The case was significant because it established temporary minority workers transported from Philadelphia to New Jersey for work could bring claims for personal injuries and were not limited or governed by either the New Jersey or Pennsylvania Worker s Compensation Acts. The case was tried in Camden County Superior Court in July 2006 before Judge Michael Kassel. The Defense Counsel was Edward H. Keiper, Esquire, Fairway Corporate Center II, 4350 Haddonfield Road, Suite 210, Pennsauken, NJ 08109, (856) What pro-bono legal work have you performed, and for what organizations have you volunteered time? In addition, have you performed any LGBT specific pro bono or volunteer work? Democratic City Committee(Handled numerous cases assigned to me by DCC) Widener University Law School, Law Clinic(volunteer on indigent cases) Burlington County Bar Association(represented indigent litigants in dependency cases) Packer Park Civic Association(performed work for my community civic group) NOTE: I have also represented over 2000 people in the Dependency Court over 29 years as a court appointed public defender and have devoted my entire career to representing the less fortunate amongst us. In representing these organizations and people, many clients were LGBT Community members. 9. Have you ever experienced discrimination on a personal level? If so how did you overcome it? Yes. I have overcome it by challenging those who discriminated on their actions. I also overcame it by achieving on my own and pledging not to discriminate against others to my God.
4 CIVIL RIGHTS QUESTIONS 10. How have you advanced the rights of the LGBT community, racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities? Please provide specific examples. I have been a fierce advocate for the poor people, ethnic minorities, members of the LGBT Community and the disabled for 29 years as a court appointed attorney. I have fought as a Dependency Attorney for minorities, fostered the adoption of children by gay and lesbian couples in Family Court, sought benefits for gays who were disabled or injured and worked to help disadvantaged gays find adequate housing in the community. 11. Do you support the rights of LGBT people to the following (if yes, please explain how you have supported the issue): a. Marriage equality (including the dissolution in Pennsylvania courts of an out-of-state marriage and/or civil union): b. Second-parent adoption? c. Equal custody rights in divorce (including visitation and custody rights for non-birth parents in separations)? d. Protection from discrimination in connection with employment, housing and accommodations? e. Protection from acts of violence, including hate crimes, based on sexual orientation or gender identity? f. Access to victims services and Protection From Abuse orders for victims of domestic violence and/or rape? a. Marriage equality? Yes. The legal union of two people. I will use my office to recognize this right and this simple definition. I have supported this by expressing this opinion in public forums, in responding to surveys, in voting for law makers who support this right and in teaching those who I can influence marriage equality is a right. b. Second-parent adoption? Yes. I have supported such adoptions in my work as a parent and child advocate for 29 years at
5 1801 Vine Street and now 1501 Arch Street. c. Equal custody rights in divorce of same sex couples, including visitation and custody rights for non-birth parents in separations? Yes. One s sexual preference should not exclude them in any of these areas. The focus of the best interests of the child should always be the determinative factor in such cases not sexual categorizations. d. Protection from discrimination in employment, housing and accommodations for members of the LGBT community or based on gender identity and presentation? Yes. I support this because I believe people, all people, should have the right to work, live and lodge wherever they wish. e. Protection from acts of violence based on their sexual orientation or gender identity? Yes. Acts of violence should never be permitted against anyone. f. Do you support the rights of LGBT victims of domestic violence and rape to have the same access to victims services and Protection from Abuse orders to related domestic violence? Of course. Any victim should be entitled to equal protection of the laws. I will support it by granting such when it comes before me if factually warranted. 12. Do you consider transgender rights a civil rights issue? Please explain. Yes. I believe "every human being" has the "civil right" to chose his/her own sexual orientation. This can become a recognized right by stripping the title of not conforming. Not conforming to whose rules and definitions. God made us all unique and free to be who we are. Therefore, this is a civil right. All people living under our flag have the right to live freely without discrimination no matter what their sexual preference. 13. Transgender people have sometimes experienced a higher risk than others of discrimination and violence in connection with their interactions with the court system, and specifically, the criminal justice system. What should judges do to mitigate such discrimination? By promoting such accommodations in policy meetings with their colleagues and by assuring those convicted of crimes, if incarcerated, are given protective custodial accommodations in prisons, by Court Order. 14. LGBT youth may act out because of harassment at school or in the home due to their gender/sex identity. How would you show sensitivity to such issues?
6 Additionally, LGBT youth who spend time in juvenile detention facilities may face dangers other youth do not, such as physical, psychological, or sexual abuse and discrimination. What alternatives, if any, might be appropriate for such youth? First, staff must be sensitive to the special circumstances involved in these cases. They must be reminded that the LGBT Community Members have the same rights of all minorities and are to be treated fairly and equally under the law. With reference to LGBT youth who spend time in juvenile detention facilities, it is true they face many dangers. I have represented delinquent youth for 29 years at Family Court, located at 1801 Vine Street. In doing so, I have often encountered LGBT Youth, who were subject to ridicule and physical taunting and assault in the juvenile criminal justice system. Without question, LGBT Youth should be separated and isolated in the juvenile justice system with other members of their community who have been similarly charged with crimes. In effect, mixing LGBT Youth with others in the juvenile system charged with a crime, is no different than mixing male offenders and female offenders and should be strictly prohibited for the protection of LGBT Youths. As an alternative to detention of delinquent LGBT Youth, community service, including appearances in the community to sensitize the non LGBT Community, would serve as a good alternative to incarceration. 15. Do you support a woman s right to choose? Of course, there is no question a woman s choice is her own, and no one s other than her s. SUMMARY QUESTIONS 16. Why should Liberty City endorse you? Because I have always been an advocate for and supporter of your community. Also, you have endorsed me for Judge in the past and I have publically stated of all endorsements YOURS meant the most, because it came from a group to which I did not "technically" belong, but with whom I stand with daily. You should endorse me because my voice is a strong voice for your rights in a community often not standing with you, the legal profession and the judiciary. 17. List all other endorsements you have received in connection with present 2015 Primary Election. As you know the endorsement process is underway and few if any endorsements
7 have been made. I can state, I received these endorsements in 2013 and expect to receive them again in THE PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION - "RECOMMENDED" FOR JUDGE LIBERTY CITY DEMOCRATIC CLUB - LGBT COMMUNITY THE PLUMBERS - LOCAL 690 DISTRICT ATTORNEY - SETH WILLIAMS UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS - LOCAL 1776 LOCAL 8 - INT. ALLIANCE OF THEATRICAL STAGE EMPLOYEES TEAMSTERS - LOCAL 623 * THE LABORERS LOCAL 332 THE OPERATING ENGINEERS LOCAL 542 AMERICANS FOR DEMOCRATIC ACTION - ADA THE 8TH WARD THE CEMENT MASONS LOCAL 592 DISTRICT COUNCIL 47 - CITY WHITE COLLAR WORKERS THE REINFORCED IRON WORKERS LOCAL 405 LABORERS - LOCAL 57 CANDIDATE SIGNATURE: E-SIGNATURE VINCE GIUSINI