Dougherty is the administrative judge for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Trial Division, where he oversees all aspects of Pennsylvania’s largest civil and criminal trial court system.
More than 200 people attended the event with Judge Dougherty at Allentown’s IBEW Local 375 office on Liberty Street. There, Dougherty earned the support of Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski, community activist Alan Jennings and numerous labor and community service leaders.
“I am proud to support Kevin Dougherty in his bid to become a Supreme Court judge,” Pawlowski said. “He’s done a lot of good work from the bench helping families and making the streets of Philadelphia safer.”
Three days later, the Pennsylvania State Democratic Committee also endorsed Dougherty—one of two endorsements it gave for three open Supreme Court seats.
Dougherty was previously the administrative judge for Philadelphia Family Court for nearly a decade. He was first appointed to the bench by Gov. Tom Ridge in 2001 and won election to a full 10-year term later that year.
He requested his appointment to Family Court and was made Supervising Judge of the Juvenile Division in 2003. He became the administrative judge of Family Court in 2005, going on to make reforms in the juvenile justice system that would become models for the rest of the state.
Dougherty has been widely recognized as an expert on juvenile justice and judicial administration and has been appointed to serve on numerous boards, committees and commissions dealing with these subjects.
“I want the black robe I wear to be viewed by those who come before me as a beacon of hope rather than a symbol of fear,” Dougherty has been known to say.
But Dougherty has also been known for stern treatment of violent youths when it was needed. When Philadelphia was besieged with “flash mobs” of violent teens attacking random citizens, Dougherty made examples of the leaders by placing them in juvenile detention facilities. His quick actions were credited with restoring a sense of safety on Philadelphia streets.