Eastern District of Pa. soon to see its first female chief federal judge

By Jon Campisi | Jan 30, 2013

U.S. District Judge Petrese Tucker, a former Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jurist,

will soon become the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s first female chief judge, after Judge J. Curtis Joyner, the current top judge at the federal courthouse in Philadelphia, announced he would be stepping down from the post come springtime.

Tucker, who first came to the federal bench in 2000, and is next in line to serve as chief U.S. District Judge given her seniority status, said she is unsure if she will stay in the position for the full seven-year term, but nevertheless described her ascension as a “great honor,” according to the advocacy group Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts, which announced the shakeup.

Tucker is scheduled to take over for Joyner after the current chief judge leaves his post on May 1, PMC stated.

According to her court biography, Tucker was nominated by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1999, and she was sworn in the following year.

Before becoming a federal jurist, Tucker had served for 13 years as a state judge in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, which is Philadelphia’s court system.

During her time in Philadelphia, Tucker served in the Family Court Division, the criminal and civil sections of the Court of Common Pleas’ Trial Division, and was appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as the administrative judge of the Orphans’ Court Division.

Before being elected to state judgeship, Tucker worked as assistant chief of the Rape Unit and the Child Abuse Unit of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, her bio states.

Prior to working as a city prosecutor, Tucker served as senior trial attorney for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, better known as SEPTA, and she worked as an adjunct professor for the Great Lakes College Association and Temple University’s Beasley School of Law.

Tucker is a member of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and American Bar Associations, as well as the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

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