Bucks Writs - Summer 2019 - 10

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JUDGE BOYLAN:

A LOOK BACK ON TWENTY YEARS
By Chris Serpico

J

UDGE REA BOYLAN, WHOSE
TWENTY YEARS OF SERVICE
RENDER HER THE LONGESTTENURED MEMBER OF THE
BUCKS COUNTY COURT OF
COMMON PLEAS, will be retiring

During her tenure, Judge Boylan
has become well known for her
pioneering efforts to provide alternatives to more traditional methods
of punishing persons convicted of
committing crimes, especially when
it comes to defendants with drug
addictions. Programs with which she
has been closely involved include The
Youthful Offenders Program, Drug
Court, the Community Accountability
Program, and the District Court Drug
Diversion Program.

at the end of this year. Consequently,
our Court will have three new judges
installed in January 2020.
When I asked Judge Boylan why she
decided not to seek retention this year,
she told me that she felt the time was
right to step aside, especially since
she believes that when a judge runs
for retention, he or she should be
willing to serve out the entire ten-year
term. As she determined that she
wasn't ready to make that commitment, she thought it
best to complete her term and move on. She also thinks
the Court will benefit from the addition of new judges
with fresh ideas and perspectives to share with their
colleagues on the bench.

She believes that diversion, when
successful, is the best way to protect
the community and avoid recidivism.
In her opinion, trying to teach an
incarcerated person how to curb drug use in the future
is nearly impossible. Rather, the individual must develop
those skills in a way that will enable them to stay "clean"
as they try and make it on the outside. Judge Boylan
maintains that the most successful diversion programs

During her tenure, Judge Boylan
has become well known for her
pioneering efforts to provide
alternatives to more traditional
methods of punishing persons
convicted of committing crimes,
especially when it comes to
defendants with drug addictions.

When she no longer dons her legal robe, Judge Boylan
envisions using her life experiences and professional
background - as a middle school teacher, lawyer,
community leader, and jurist - to advocate and work for
change in a way one cannot do as a judge. She would also
consider teaching, especially in the field of trial advocacy.
She is open to the idea of serving as a Senior Judge if
requested by President Judge Bateman, but at the present
time, that possibility remains unclear.
Judge Boylan, who was sworn in on January 3, 2000,
says that she has witnessed a shift over the past two
decades in the way that criminal cases are approached
and adjudged. In juvenile court, a greater effort is made to
avoid detaining children and placing them in the juvenile
system whenever possible. And in adult court, there is a
growing realization that incarceration is not necessarily the
best way to stop individuals from using drugs.

promote accountability, which can be a challenge for
people caught in the clutches of addiction. In Drug Court,
the two most important rules are: (1) Don't lie, and (2) Ask
for help when needed.

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