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Rivera announces run for Chesco Court of Common Pleas bench

The Unionville Times

Leonard Rivera, Latino, trial lawyer from Kennett Square, is among the top candidates vying for five open seats on the Chester County Court of Common Pleas. In this tight race, Rivera stands out as the most experienced litigator currently running for County Judge and the only candidate with a master’s degree in Trial Advocacy. His breadth and depth of legal accomplishments and thousands of hours of courtroom trial experience working in family law, criminal law, and on civil, corporate, and immigration matters distinguish Rivera.

“I am ready for the bench. I bring to the Court an even temperament, compassionate listening, and experiential wisdom. I’ve developed these traits over years of service in the courtroom and in my community. As a lawyer, I’ve learned to expertly navigate emotionally-charged and complex family, criminal, and civil law matters. As a defense attorney, I courageously stand up for fair application of the law and sentencing standards,” explains Rivera. “I’m committed to serving those for whom English is their second language, helping them navigate the complex and often confusing judicial system.”

If elected, Rivera will also bring to the Court diverse representation that it has not seen since 2004. Rivera is the only candidate who is a member of the Chester County Latino Community—the largest minority population in Chester County. Rivera notes, “It’s time that the Court of Common Pleas mirrors the makeup of our community by electing qualified, diverse judges.”

Alicia Bannon, director of the Judiciary Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, where her work focuses on promoting a fair judicial system is quoted by the American Bar Association.  Bannon notes, “Research suggests that diversity can enhance public confidence in the courts, and it can lead to greater trust if people look at the courts and see judges that look like them.”

From the Community, For the Community is more than a campaign slogan for Rivera. Rivera’s mother, Anna, was a certified interpreter for the Chester County Court of Common Pleas and Child Youth and Family Services, where Rivera now serves on the Advisory Board. His parents believed strongly in public service and encouraged Rivera to always be committed to his cultural roots. His commitment to Chester County is unparalleled. Rivera is the Chair of Pennsylvania Interbranch for Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Fairness. Through his work on the Interbranch Commission and based on his own client’s unfair treatment in a Chester County Court, his judicial memorandum for equality in application of courtroom standards regarding immigration status became a Rule of Evidence in October of 2021.

Nora Winkelman, former Ed Rendell Chief Counsel, House Democrat Caucus Legal Counsel, and Montgomery County Democratic Committee Vice-Chair states, “Lenny Rivera embodies our shared Democrat values of inclusion, compassion and empathy. This is evidenced by his commitment to his community—his many board appointments and volunteer work. As a Latino who provides incredible support to the Chester County Latino community, Lenny makes an ideal candidate for Judge on the Chester County Court of Common Pleas.”

Rivera is the founder of the Chester County Latino Luncheon, a networking group for Latino professionals that provides scholarships to college students. He has been part of the mentoring program at Kennett’s Garage Community and Youth Center. He is a former board member and works in the Legal Clinic for La Comunidad Hispana. And his work for the community does not end there, he is a member and past president of the Longwood Rotary. He coached Mock Trial at Kennett Area High School. In 2018, he received the Mock Trial Coach Award in recognition of years of service as team coach. Rivera is also Secretary of the Chester Water Authority (CWA). Along with fellow board members, he fought against a hostile Aqua takeover, saving CWA’s ratepayers $276,337,608 over what they would have paid if they were Aqua customers.

“I’ve found that the best judges are patient, compassionate, and fair. The best judges not only thoroughly know the law, but also have the ability to apply the law without bias,” Rivera states. “These judges draw from their backgrounds and experiences as lawyers and as active members of the communities in which they serve. This is the type of judge I will be if elected to the Chester County Court of Common Pleas.”