NAACP President Sandra Thompson running for judge

York chapter NAACP President is making her second bid at a seat in York County's Court of Common Pleas.

Junior Gonzalez, 505-5439/@JuniorG_YD
  • Thompson, 48, has been NAACP president since 2011.
  • Thompson is in favor of restoring “reformative” actions for younger criminals to reduce recidivism
  • Thompson will hold an open house Saturday at her law office, located at 351 E. Princess St.

Local attorney and York NAACP Chapter President Sandra Thompson has announced a run for a seat on the York County Court of Common Pleas.

“I’ve been active in York County since I was 18,” Thompson, 48, said. She has been involved in youth, minority and family matters for decades, tutoring young children and teaching adults business theories and ethics. She currently serves as president of the York chapter of the NAACP.

Sandra Thompson

Ophelia Chambliss, vice president of the York NAACP, will assume most of the civil rights organization's responsibilities as Thompson campaigns for a seat on the court.

There are three open seats in the Court of Common Pleas. Thompson said that with so many vacancies on the court, it’s imperative to make sure there is a representative court.

“It’s important to have a judge with diverse backgrounds,” she said.

Next step: Thompson said that running for a seat on the district court “is the next logical step as an attorney and a community leader ... to bring the root causes (of issues in York) from a community perspective.”

She cites petty crime and drug use as some of the issues affecting York citizens.

“We need to identify and resolve these root causes that are leading our youth to crime, leading our youth toward drugs and leading our youth toward violence,” she said.

Thompson is in favor of restoring “reformative” actions for younger criminals to reduce recidivism and give them a chance at a better life.

At the start of her career, Thompson worked at Central Pennsylvania Legal Services, representing individuals in family, abuse, estate and landlord-and-tenant cases.

When she worked at the York County District Attorney’s office, Thompson was involved in cases ranging from traffic tickets to murder. “The whole gamut,” she added.

For the people: For a packed race with many well-known lawyers, Thompson said that she comes to the race as a self-made jurist.

“I come from more of an ‘everyday person’ experience,” she said. “I don’t come from a famous last name or from a wealthy family. I’m from the people, by the people, for the people.”

Thompson was born in Philadelphia and attended the Philadelphia High School for Girls. She moved to York in 1986 and attended York College, earning a degree in human resource management.

After graduating from York College in 1990, Thompson delayed her entry to law school by five years. In that time, she had two children and was a probation officer in York County, helping female offenders. She went on to earn her law degree at Widener University School of Law in 1999.

Thompson said that she understands the difficult situations women face.

“Balancing family, putting two kids through college. I’ve seen people struggle to do that because I’ve been through that,” she said.

Lessons learned: After having a private practice for 14 years and working within the legal system for much longer, Thompson said she has learned something that only comes with many years under one’s belt.

“In my older age, I’ve grown to be more patient and understanding,” she said. “As an attorney, sometimes we tend to hear what we think (a plaintiff or defendant) is going to say.”

“Now I listen more, hear you out, and then I speak,” Thompson said. “It’s something that is going to be important as a judge.”

“It’s important in any situation to have attentiveness, and understanding,” Thompson said. “I’m still a person that will hold you accountable, but I will help you see what can be changed.”

Perhaps some insight into Thompson’s jurisprudence would be what she says she informs her clients about:

“I always tell my clients, ‘You may not have been at fault in your situation, but you now have to deal with it and reach the best outcome,’” she said.

Thompson will hold an open house, 3-5 p.m. Saturday at her law office, located at 351 E. Princess St.