Bucks Writs - Fall 2021 - 14

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Judge Charissa Liller
By Susan Dardes
IT TOOK ME A BIT OF TIME, but I managed to get on
Judge Charissa Liller's schedule, for a catch-up telephone
call to see how she has been since her induction as a Judge
of the Bucks County Common Pleas Court over a year ago,
and her goings on throughout the trying year-plus of the
coronavirus pandemic .
The Judge is now busier than ever, with the reopening
of the courthouse, although she and Judges McMaster,
Bowman and Yeager have all been doing ex-parte hearings,
in person, even while the pandemic shut down our County
and our Commonwealth . When she looks back over the
last year, and all the challenges that COVID brought to our
region and to the world, we have to remember that the
courthouse business carried on because it was so essential .
She worked in person, the entire time the rest of us were
working (and " zooming " ) from home due to travel and
other restrictions, and her schedule was full throughout the
pandemic and now .
Cases in family court make up between 85% and 90% of
her overall case load, and at that, most are child custody
disputes, support matters and Protection from Abuse
proceedings (PFAs) . Generally speaking, most property
matters between divorcing couples settle at the master or
conciliation stage . An overriding theme during her judicial
campaign was that she had a broad depth of experience in
family law as a partner at Curtin and Heefner . Once elected,
she would as a new Judge (as is commonplace in Bucks
County) be presiding over family law matters . After all, there
is no training for a newly elected judge in our common pleas
system . But, because of that prior law practice, occasionally
it becomes necessary for her to recuse herself from the
occasional case and reassign it to Judges Bowman, Yaeger,
McMaster, or Rubenstein .
The other 15% of her court docket is comprised of criminal
complaints and miscellaneous days . Her first job after
having passed the Pennsylvania Bar was with the Bucks
County District Attorney's office, then she practiced criminal
defense . With this background, Judge Liller is no stranger to
criminal court proceedings . Emergency PFA and bail hearings
proceeded without interruption through 2020, pandemic
notwithstanding .
14
The Judge is now busier than ever, with the
reopening of the courthouse, although she
and Judges McMaster, Bowman and Yeager
have all been doing ex-parte hearings, in
person, even while the pandemic shut down
our County and our Commonwealth.
She is deeply familiar with all domestic matters and pro se
litigants, but from the other side of the table . Now, she has
taken that experience to the bench . Two pro se litigants
can be challenging, she said, mostly in that they need to

Bucks Writs - Fall 2021

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