Judge Louis J. Presenza Named Brennan Award Winner For 2006
PHILADELPHIA – The Honorable Louis J. Presenza, President Judge of the Municipal Court of Philadelphia, will be honored with the prestigious 2006 Justice William J. Brennan Jr. Distinguished Jurist Award at the Philadelphia Bar Association’s October Quarterly Meeting and Luncheon on Monday, October 30 at the Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue at noon. The award recognizes a jurist who adheres to the highest ideals of judicial service.
First elected President Judge by his peers in January 1999, Judge Presenza was re-elected to a second five-year term in January 2004. He previously has served as supervising judge for the criminal division where he instituted the first Treatment Court in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A graduate of Villanova University School of Law, Judge Presenza was elected to the Municipal Court bench in 1982 and was retained in 1989, 1995 and 2001.
“I am really flattered and humbled by this award,” Judge Presenza said. “When you consider what Judge Brennan stood for and the list of prior recipients, this is truly an honor. I would be remiss, though the award is given to me personally, if I did not accept on behalf of all those individuals and agencies that have been part of our program because without them we would not have had the same success.”
During his 24 years on the bench, Judge Presenza has chaired or co-chaired a variety of panels and commissions addressing such diverse issues as preliminary arraignment, statewide automation, the destruction of firearms, pretrial release guidelines, video-conferencing, prison population management and alternatives to incarceration. He currently serves on the city’s Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee, the Task Force to End Homelessness and the Pennsylvania Adult Drug Court Advisory Committee.
Judge Presenza is the immediate past chair of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and is a founding member and two-term president of the Pennsylvania Association of Drug Court Professionals.
“I'm delighted that President Judge Presenza is being recognized for his exemplary service to the Municipal Court over many years, and for his extraordinarily innovative work with Treatment Court, which under his capable direction has served as a national model for other jurisdictions. While his modesty will never allow him to toot his own horn, those who have worked closely with Judge Presenza know him to be a person of great intellect, compassion and devotion to our justice system. He is a truly deserving recipient of the Brennan Award,” said Chancellor Alan M. Feldman, who served on this year’s selection committee for the award which was chaired by Stephanie Resnick of Fox Rothschild LLP.
Any member of the state or federal bench, whether active or retired, who has made a significant, positive impact on the quality or administration of justice in Philadelphia was eligible for consideration. Examples of accomplishments worthy of nomination included innovations in court administration, implementation of pioneering case management techniques, assumption of a leadership role in areas affecting the administration of justice, publication of a significant opinion, article, or other scholarly work, or the like.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan Jr. was the first recipient of the award in 1995. Other recipients of the award, which is now named in honor of Justice Brennan, include the following: President Judge Alex Bonavitacola of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas (1996); Judge Phyllis W. Beck of the Pennsylvania Superior Court (1997); Chief Judge Edward R. Becker of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1998); Judge Louis C. Bechtle of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (1999); Chief Judge James T. Giles of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (2000); Justice Russell M. Nigro of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court (2002); U.S. District Court Judge Louis H. Pollack (2003); Judge James R. Melinson, retired U.S. Chief Magistrate (2004); and U.S. District Court Senior Judge Edmund V. Ludwig (2005). The Brennan Award was not given in 2001.