Schuylkill County District Attorney James P. Goodman has announced that he is seeking a seat as a Judge of the Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas.
Goodman grew up in Mahanoy City and graduated from Marian Catholic High School. He then obtained his finance degree from Villanova University. He graduated from Duquesne University School of Law where he was on the law review and clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Ralph Cappy and former Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Maureen Lally-Green.
Goodman practiced law with the firm of Pfeiffer, Brown, DiNicola and Goodman from 1993 until elected District Attorney in 2005. In his private law practice, Goodman had an active and diverse civil practice handling estates, real estate, and personal injury law. He represented corporations, banks, and many municipal clients, including the Borough of New Philadelphia, Blythe Township, and the Lake Wynonah Municipal Authority.
Goodman also practiced criminal defense in his private practice and served as a guardian ad litem for dependent minor children.
Goodman was elected District Attorney in November 2005 and re-elected in 2009. Goodman credited his dedicated staff on their efforts to fight for victims rights and to hold drug dealers and other violent criminals accountable by imposing tough jail sentences. He himself has obtained convictions in a number of first degree murder cases. Under Goodman's leadership, crime has leveled off in the county as the number of criminal cases per year has stayed about the same, while the number of defendants going to state prison has tripled.
Goodman stated that his office has fought for tough sentences on drug dealers and other violent criminals, but they have also had the good judgment to look for sensible solutions for criminals who need more than incarceration. His office has helped form a forensic task force to deal with criminals who have mental health issues and has worked in putting criminals with drug and alcohol problems into diversionary programs to address their dependency issues.
Under Goodman's leadership the district attorney's office has also worked diligently to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. Goodman created an elder abuse unit in the District Attorney's office to protect elderly senior citizens in Schuylkill County. When the unit was created Goodman stated, "We must protect those who cannot protect themselves". He also secured funding to hire a full time prosecutor to prosecute domestic violence cases.
To protect women and children who have been sexually abused and assaulted, Goodman has trained more assistant district attorney's to specialize in sexual assault cases. He also has taken money from drug dealers and turned it over to Schuylkill Women in Crisis and the Sexual Assault Resource Center. He also set up the SAVIN system in the Schuylkill County prison so that victims of crime can know the status of their offenders 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Goodman's office has also been proactive in fighting crime by educating our children about the dangers of crime and helping law enforcement fight crime. He started a Shield 7 program in all of the school districts to educate the children about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, sexting and bullying. He also started an annual law enforcement symposium to give laws enforcement the tools they need to help keep our communities safe.
One of his top priorities as district attorney has been his relentless efforts in protecting our communities from drug dealers. He teamed up with Congressman Tim Holden and helped secure a grant for $449,993 for police overtime and equipment. He also used that money to hire a drug prosecutor who prosecutes drug cases and oversees his new drug task force.
The new drug task force includes police officers from all municipal police departments. With more money, more police officers, and better equipment Goodman's office has conducted a number of successful drug busts. A number of high profile drug busts such as Schuylkill ICE, which busted a major methamphetamine ring in northern Schuylkill County, has resulted in large sums of cash being turned over to the district attorney's office.
Goodman also started a forfeiture unit in the District Attorneys whose purpose is to take money and assets off of drug dealers and give it to police departments and other worthwhile law enforcement agencies.
Goodman stated that his accomplishments in the District Attorney's office, his diverse legal background, and his experience in using good judgment gives him the tools to serve as a Court of Common Pleas Judge. Goodman said as a judge he would use his experience and common sense and would treat everyone with fairness.
Goodman lives in Pottsville with his wife, Maria, and their five daughters: Caitlin, Erin, Kelly, Lauren and Megan.