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John S. Kennedy, Retired Judge

Of Counsel | Attorney

Overview

John S. Kennedy – (Of Counsel) 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 Judge Court until his retirement in December 2017. During his years on the Bench, 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.

Judge Kennedy completed Mediation training at the National Judicial College in 2007 and 2017. In 2019, Judge Kennedy completed Mediation training at the nationally acclaimed Pepperdine School of Law. 

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 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.

Direct Phone Number

(717) 825-8302

Awards and Honors
  • 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
Education
  • J.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Law
  • B.S., Eastern Kentucky University
  • Mediation Training, National Judicial College and Pepperdine School of Law
Affiliations
  • American Bar Association
  • American Bar Association, Alternative Dispute Resolution Section
  • Pennsylvania Bar Association
  • Former Chair, Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Committee on Corrections
  • Served on various committees of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission and Commission on Crime and Delinquency