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Meet Patricia Zaffarano, Magisterial District Judge

Zaffarano says she continues to advocate for justice by holding impartial court proceedings.

With the November 8 election day swiftly approaching, Upper Dublin Patch is on a mission to inform its readers about the background and stances of every single candidate running for office in our township.

We'll present two pieces on every candidate: first an interview on their personal background, followed by a second to find out their viewpoint on key issues. To find which ward you're in, click here.

Patricia Zaffarano is completing her fourth six-year term as district judge, and will face challenger Michael Paston on election day. In May's primary election, for which both candidates cross-filed, Zaffarano won the Republican ballot with almost 80 percent of the vote. However, she was unable to edge Paston on the Democratic ballot, losing by 54 votes, 985 to 931. To find out more about the position and its responsibilities, .

Upper Dublin Patch: What publicly elected offices have you held, and for how long?

Patricia Zaffarano: The position of Magisterial District Judge is the first and only publicly elected office I have run for and held.  I was first elected in 1987 and have continued to serve the communities of Upper Dublin Township and Ambler Borough since then by successfully being re-elected each time with the support of Republican, Democrat and Independent voters.

UDP: Can you take a moment to tell our readers a bit about yourself – where you’re from, your education, and your professional and personal achievements?

PZ: I am a life-long resident of Upper Dublin and a graduate of Upper Dublin High School. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Law Enforcement & Corrections from Penn State and a law degree from Villanova. I then served a 2 year judicial clerkship followed by 7 years as an Assistant District Attorney here in Montgomery County, specializing in prosecuting sex crimes. Thereafter, I was elected to the position I now hold.

My husband and I have been married for 23 years.

I have been very fortunate to live, work and serve in the community that I have always called home.

UDP: You have been a longstanding judge.  Why did you choose to make this your career?

PZ: I always wanted to be an attorney and work within the criminal justice system.  I’m sure my Dad’s 34 years as a police officer here in Upper Dublin had an impact on my decision.  My experience as a prosecutor taught me the inner workings of the courtroom, how to try cases and how to be an effective advocate for justice on behalf of the community.  Eventually I felt that I could do more on the bench.  Serving as a judge has been an honor and a privilege.  I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing.

UDP: What would you say are a few key characteristics of the way you run your court?  What can individuals expect when entering it?

PZ: When people come to the District Court they can expect to have a full opportunity to be heard. They will be treated with patience and respect, and can be assured that I will do my best to listen to them and then render my decision in a fair and impartial manner. Practically, we do our best to hold the hearings in a prompt and timely fashion.

I am also a full-time judge who takes who takes pride in interacting with the public and helping them even when not in the courtroom.

Stick with Patch as we continue to speak with candidates. Click for previous interviews. Incumbents in bold.

Upper Dublin Township Commissioners

Ward 1: (R), (D)

Ward 5: (D), (R)

Ward 7: (R), (D)

UDSD School Board

, , , , , , .

Magisterial District Judge

(D), (R)

Gerry Lowery October 27, 2011 at 11:07 AM
My experience with Judge Zaffarano has shown her to be tough on criminals when she should be (a person caught stealing from our garage was sent away to prison for the maximum time), yet compassionate when its approprriate (when dealing with young offenders, they learn their lesson while not bearing the full potential wrath of the law). I'm happy to keep her as our judge.
Jules.Mermelstein@gmail.com October 27, 2011 at 12:04 PM
In addition to being a great judge with integrity (making some decisions that hurt her politically), Judge Zaffarano is very community oriented and an Upper Dublin raised resident. I am happy to cross party lines to support Judge Zaffarano.
We are all Upepr Dublin October 27, 2011 at 01:31 PM
I am not one to vote strictly on political party and I agree with Mr Mermelstein about crossing party lines when you have to choose the best candidate for the community. Judge Zaffarano is the best candidate running. No offense to Mr Paston, but he does not have her experience. She almost won on the Democrat side in the primary! Perhaps if he was running in a different community or setting, he would be a good candidate, but Judge Zaffarano's resume is simply outstanding and to be a hometown candidate makes my decision even easier. Vote Zaffarano on November 8th.
Liz Ferry October 27, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Judge Zaffarano is a person of integrity and intelligence. Upper Dublin is fortunate to have someone of her caliber serving in our community.
UD Parent October 27, 2011 at 09:15 PM
I usually am one to vote strictly on political party, but for this race it needs to be done. I am a life-time republican and i know Mike Paston is the best option for district judge. His fresh perspective is what the court system in our area needs!
Pat Strus October 28, 2011 at 01:09 AM
Judge Zaffarano is the most qualified and the most experianced! She had done an outstanding job in her court room. She has mine and my family support!
Denise M. October 30, 2011 at 02:32 PM
I have the opportunity to sit in on Judge Zaffarano's court proceedings several times and have found her to be experienced, professional, kind and very fair. She is the epitomy of what a judge should be and we are fortunate to have her as ours. I hope we can keep her there for the long term.
Elena Granito November 01, 2011 at 09:28 PM
I am also crossing party lines to vote for Judge Zaffarano because Paston has little experience and seems more focused on technology than a combination of the technology already in use and the importance of face time which Judge Zaffarano fully understands. Paston doesn't hold a candle to Zaffarano in terms of experience and diplomacy and instead of Paston focusing on real issues and keeping things positive, he has attempted some negative campaigning. Patty Zaffarano can proudly hold her head high with her distinguished record and reputation of being consistently fair. I am hping that UD residents will vote for the person who clearly has the best and most qualified record and that is Judge Zaffarano.

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