Advisory Council on Elder Justice in the Courts

The Advisory Council on Elder Justice in the Courts was established to advise the Office of Elder Justice in the Courts regarding the implementation of the Elder Law Task Force’s Report and Recommendations. The Advisory Council also collaborates with the executive and legislative branches of state government and communicates with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts and the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania about the implementation of the Task Force’s recommendations and other matters involving elder justice.

The Advisory Council was created by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania based on a recommendation from the Elder Law Task Force. The 38-member, multi-disciplinary Task Force was comprised of experts within and outside of the court system, and was chaired by Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd. The Task Force was charged with reviewing current practices and problems in the areas of guardianship, elder abuse and neglect, and access to justice; examining promising practices in other states; and delivering a blueprint of recommendations to address the needs and challenges of the Commonwealth’s aging population. Its work focused on how courts can address the particular concerns regarding elders and also be proactive about addressing the growing population of elders in the Commonwealth’s court system. The Task Force published its Report and Recommendations in November 2014.

The Advisory Council held its inaugural meeting at the Pennsylvania Judicial Center on January 7, 2015. Superior Court Judge Paula Francisco Ott serves as the chair, and former Court Administrator of Pennsylvania Zygmont A. Pines, Esq., serves as vice-chair. Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd is the Supreme Court liaison.

Council Members

Chair
Judge Paula Francisco Ott
Superior Court of Pennsylvania
West Chester

 

Vice-Chair
Zygmont A. Pines, Esquire
Court Administrator of Pennsylvania (Former)
Philadelphia

 

Supreme Court Liaison
Justice Debra Todd
Supreme Court of Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh

 

Cherstin Hamel
Director, Office of Elder Justice in the Courts
Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts
Harrisburg

 

Karen C. Buck, Esquire
Executive Director
SeniorLAW Center
Philadelphia

 

Dr. Bruce M. Bushwick
WellSpan Health
York

 

Ronald W. Costen, PhD, Esquire
Legal Consultant
Institute on Protective Services, Temple University
Harrisburg

 

Art DiLoreto
Deputy Director
Pennsylvania Association of Area Agencies
on Aging, Inc.
Harrisburg

 

Professor Lawrence A. Frolik, Esquire
University of Pittsburgh School of Law
Pittsburgh

 

Lisa Grayson, Esquire
Cumberland County Register of Wills
and Orphans’ Court Clerk
Carlisle

 

Senator Arthur L. Haywood, III
Pennsylvania Senate
Philadelphia

 

Representative Tim Hennessey
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Harrisburg

 

John N. Kennedy, Esquire
Kennedy, PC Law Offices
Harrisburg

 

Joan Krechmer
Executive Director
Jewish Family Services of York
York

 

John F. (“Jack”) Meck, Esquire
Eckert Seamans
Pittsburgh

 

Diane Menio
Executive Director
Center for Advocacy for the Rights and Interests
of the Elderly (CARIE)
Philadelphia

 

Judge Lois E. Murphy
Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County
Norristown

 

Joseph M. Olimpi, Esquire
The Elder Law Office of Olimpi & Kramer, LLC
Beaver

 

Teresa Osborne
Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Aging
Harrisburg

 

Honorable Josh Shapiro
Pennsylvania Attorney General
Harrisburg

 

Pamela Walz, Esquire
Co-Director of the Aging and Disabilities Unit
Community Legal Services of Philadelphia
Philadelphia

 

President Judge Sheila A. Woods-Skipper
Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County
Philadelphia

 

Eugene A. Vittone, II, Esquire
District Attorney
Washington County District Attorney’s Office
Washington

 

President Judge George N. Zanic
Court of Common Pleas of Huntingdon County
Huntingdon

 

Stephen A. Zappala, Jr., Esquire
District Attorney
Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office
Pittsburgh