HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Superior Court, meeting in Harrisburg today, has elected Judge Jack Anthony Panella to be its new president judge effective January 7, 2019.
President Judge Elect Panella succeeds President Judge Susan Peikes Gantman who completes her five-year term on January 6, 2019.
Judge Jack Anthony Panella is the son of Rocco and Vivian Panella. He is proud of his parents who were laborers without substantial formal education. Although both of them are now deceased, Judge Panella credits them for his appreciation of education and a high work ethic.
Judge Panella was appointed to the Northampton County Bench in October 1991. In 1993, he was elected to a full ten-year term commencing January 1, 1994.
During his tenure as a trial judge, in recognition of the success of the Commonwealth Partners Program, which he chaired, Judge Panella received the President’s Award from the Conference of State Trial Judges in 2002.
Judge Panella was elected to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania in November 2003, and was sworn into office as an appellate judge on January 9, 2004. He was retained in 2013 to another ten-year term.
In 2004, Judge Panella was appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to the Commission for Justice Initiatives in Pennsylvania, a committee organized to coordinate and recommend judicial outreach and specialized court programs. He was the Chair of the Public Education and Community Outreach Committee.
Judge Panella’s first book, The Pennsylvania Sexual Violence Benchbook, was published in December 2007. The book is a comprehensive reference designed to help judges for the complex criminal issues surrounding sexual violence cases. Judge Panella wrote the Third Edition of the Benchbook, which was published in 2015. The book is available on the websites of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.
Judge Panella also wrote a benchbook for Magisterial District Judges on Sexual Violence which was published in 2011. He is currently working on a benchbook to assist judges in Pennsylvania on the issue of Restitution in criminal and juvenile delinquency cases.
In 2017, Judge Panella conceived and worked with other judges to write Judicial Bench Cards which are designed to assist trial judges handling trials involving crimes of sexual violence.
In recognition of his work in judicial education regarding crimes of sexual violence, Judge Panella received the national recognition of the NSVRC Visionary Voice Award in 2017 by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Judge Panella is married and lives in Palmer Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania