A majority of York County attorneys polled say former U.S. Rep. Todd Platts isn't qualified to serve as a York County common pleas judge, according to a survey released Thursday.
The survey, conducted by the York County Bar Association, was given to its 520 members. All told, 62 percent, or 320 members, responded to the survey, according to a news release from the association.
Of those who responded, 82 percent, or 261 members, said current Judge Mike Flannelly is "highly qualified," and an additional 13 percent, or 40 members, said he is "qualified" for the position. Less than 1 percent, or three members, said he is "not presently qualified," the release says.
Seventy-seven percent, or 247 of the respondents, said Platts is "not presently qualified," but 4 percent, or 13 members, said he is "highly qualified," and 8 percent, or 27 members, said he is "qualified," the release says.
Platts responds: Platts issued a statement Thursday afternoon calling the results "biased."
"Given that bar association members were asked to evaluate one of their own club members, my opponent, versus a non-member outsider, me, I am not surprised whatsoever by the biased outcome of the vote," he said. "The association's 'evaluation poll' is, in essence, a political poll of an exclusive group of special-interest voters in the midst of an election campaign."
Platts touted his recent endorsement from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodges, "of which neither my opponent nor I are members ..."
He said the police conducted an "unbiased analysis" of both candidates and, "after interviewing both of us and reviewing our records and qualifications, the law enforcement officers of both White Rose Lodge No.15 and York County Lodge No. 73 endorsed my candidacy."
He said he'll "proudly stand with law enforcement" if his choice is "to have the support of an exclusive club of lawyers or the support of police officers, who put their lives at risk every day on the front lines of the criminal justice system."
Flannelly weighs in: Flannelly said lawyers have clients with much at stake, from their freedom to custody of their children, and they have a "high-level of interest in make sure quality judges are selected."
"The bar association takes these polls seriously," he said.
He provided a sheet containing bar association poll results from select years, pointing out the poll hasn't always been generous to its members.
Flannelly said Platts' assertion is not historically true, and "is an insult to the members of the (York County) bar association."
More from lawyers: A further 5 percent, or 16 members, said they have "no opinion" on Flannelly's qualification; 10 percent, or 33 members, said they have no opinion on Platts' qualification.
While the results clearly state who attorneys think is most qualified to serve as judge, the bar association warned the results are not an endorsement for one specific candidate.
"The results are offered as a resource to the public in determining which candidates would be the best choice at this time for York County," the release said.
Attorneys were told to evaluate Platts and Flannelly on their professional qualifications, temperament and integrity.
Professional competence includes such qualities as judgment; legal writing; knowledge of the law; academic talent; professional experience, including such areas as years in practice, trial experience and work with administrative agencies; public service; and a person's health (physical and mental) or age.
Attorneys were asked to render "no opinion" if their knowledge of Platts or Flannelly was not sufficient to provide insight into the person's qualifications, the release says.
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