||John W. Herron
Administrative Judge of the Court of Common Pleas - Trial Division
Judge Herron was elected to the bench in November, 1987 and re-elected to a second and third term thereafter. In over 30 years on the bench, he has performed at various times every judicial assignment in both the criminal and civil programs.
From January, 1996 to February, 2002, and again in November, 2011 to October, 2014, Judge Herron was appointed by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania as the Administrative Judge of the Trial Division where he supervised 70 judges assigned to the Civil and Criminal Programs, as well as approximately 1,000 Court employees in the largest of three divisions of the Court. His three Administrative Judge terms are noteworthy as no other judge served more than two terms while at the same time managing an active trial calendar.
As Administrative Judge of the Trial Division, he worked to modernize and streamline the civil complaint, motion and discovery filing processes, initiated a Commercial Law Civil Trial Program and organized the Court into judicial teams, a greatly improved method for achieving significant dispositions of cases. Among the many accomplishments under his tenure were the reduction of the civil major jury backlog from 13,000 cases to 6,500; reduction in time to trial from 5-7 years to 2-3 years; improved community acceptance of jury service; relocation of the 600 member Probation and Pretrial Divisions to a new functionally designed building, and reorganization of the Department for enhanced parole and probation services. His administration has been widely lauded for innovations that improved both the efficiency of the court and the treatment of those who come before it.
The Commerce Program created by Judge Herron in 2000 was then and remains today the only such program in Pennsylvania and has been universally hailed and recognized for its excellence. Judge Herron served as one of the two judges in this program and authored over 150 opinions while performing the assignment. In 2012, he reorganized the Mass Tort Program in the civil courts and was recognized for the balanced reform effort in a law review article, "Litigation Tourism in Pennsylvania: Is Venue Reform Needed?" 22 Widener L.J. 29 (2013).
In December, 2011, during his second term as Administrative Judge, he also was appointed Chair of the Administrative Governing Board of all courts and served three consecutive terms. Throughout this period, he maintained a full docket of probate matters in addition to his substantial administrative duties. On his watch, the Court for the first time achieved a zero based budget and ceased deficit spending.
From 2009 to 2012, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court appointed him Special Master over all casino/gaming issues in Philadelphia resolving numerous disputes between the City and SugarHouse Casino.
Prior to judicial service, Judge Herron was an associate in a large Philadelphia law firm (1969-1971); an Assistant District Attorney (1971-1972) under Arlen Spector; Disciplinary Counsel for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania's Disciplinary Board and eventually serving as Deputy and Chief Disciplinary Counsel (1973-1985); and Deputy District Attorney for investigations (1986-1987) under Ronald Castille, former Chief Justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
Activities, Awards, Memberships:
Judge Herron has appeared frequently as a lecturer and panelist in various continuing legal education programs and has taught law school courses at Beasley Law School in both Professional Responsibility and Trial Advocacy for six years. From 1993 to 1996, he served as a gubernatorial appointee to the constitutionally created Judicial Conduct Board. He has held memberships as a Master in both the Temple Inn of Court and the University of Pennsylvania Law School Inn of Court, and is a past member of the Junior Legal Club. In 2012, he was elected to membership in the American College of Business Court Judges.
He has received numerous awards including the American Legion Service Award (1999), the Philadelphia Bar Association Person of the Year (1998), received the Pennsylvania Bar Association's highest rating in 2003 "Exceptionally Well Qualified", and was named the Philadelphia Bar Association's distinguished jurist (Brennan Award, 2011).
Judge Herron received a B.A. from Duke University in 1966 and a J.D. from Dickinson Law School in 1969.