John S. Kennedy

Bio

John S. Kennedy provides facilitative mediations, evaluative mediations or a combination of these styles. His practice focuses on mediation, arbitration and legal consulting. 

Judge Kennedy served Pennsylvania’s 19th Judicial District for 22 years as a Trial Court Judge until his retirement in December 2017. He was assigned to the Court’s Trial Division where he handled a variety of civil, criminal and Orphans’ Court cases. Judge Kennedy also handled the Civil Motions Court for approximately seven years. During this time, he occasionally mediated cases for other judges and presided over settlement conferences.

As a Trial Court Judge, Judge Kennedy presided over a variety of both criminal and civil cases including numerous medical malpractice cases, products liability cases and capital murder cases.

In 1997, he helped establish the York County Drug Treatment Court, which was the second drug treatment court in the state at that time. In 2002, he aided in facilitating the first Reentry Court Program in Pennsylvania. This program helped establish a working relationship between the State Department of Correction, State Probation and Parole and County agencies to help incarcerated offenders reintegrate into society. He also spearheaded the expansion of the York County DUI Treatment Court in 2012. The program grew from 50 to approximately 150 participants in eight months.

In 2010, as a member of the York County Criminal Justice Advisory Board, Judge Kennedy helped establish the York County Target 25 Program. This initiative changed how DUI cases were handled from arrest through sentencing. It relies on technology and the collaborative efforts of the district attorney’s office, local law enforcement, judges, the county’s DUI Court and probation/parole to curb repeat drunk driving. Target 25 has reduced the occurrence of pretrial recidivism for drunk drivers by over 90%. 

In 2014 Judge Kennedy and Target 25 received the Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award from the Governors Highway Safety Association. He was also honored with the National Highway Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Life Savers Award in 2015 and the Kevin E. Quinlan Award for Excellence in Traffic Safety from the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility in 2015.  

Through a cooperative agreement with the American Bar Association and the NHTSA, he serves as a Regional Judicial Outreach Liaison in Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Judge Kennedy has presented and served on panels for the American Bar Association, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies and various other state and local organizations.  

He is a graduate of Central Dauphin High School. Judge Kennedy attended Eastern Kentucky University and received his J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He lives in York with his wife Beth. Judge Kennedy’s son is a Division 1 ski racer at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire and his daughter is employed in the computer science industry in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

John S. Kennedy provides facilitative mediations, evaluative mediations or a combination of these styles. His practice focuses on mediation, arbitration and legal consulting. 

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Legal Services: 
Education and Honors: 
J.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Law
B.S., Eastern Kentucky University
Alternative Dispute Resolution Program and Civil Mediation Course (2007 & 2017), National Judicial College
Treatment Court Judicial Training (1997, 2001, 2006 & 2011), National Judicial College
Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award from the Governors Highway Safety Association, 2014
National Highway Safety Administration’s Life Savers Award, 2015
Kevin E. Quinlan Award for Excellence in Traffic Safety from the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, 2015
Bar Admissions: 
Pennsylvania
Professional Affiliations: 
American Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Committee on Corrections, Former Chair
Served on various committees of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission and Commission on Crime and Delinquency

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