Hon. Renee Cardwell Hughes
Court of Common Pleas, First Judicial District Member, Pennsylvania Commission on Judicial Independence, Philadelphia
The Honorable Renée Cardwell Hughes is a trial judge in the Court of Common Pleas, the First Judi¬cial District of Pennsylvania which encompasses the City of Philadelphia. Judge Hughes has served in the Trial Division of the court, since her appointment to the bench in 1995 by Governor Tom Ridge. She was elected to a full ten year term beginning January, 1996 and was re-elected in 2006 to a second full term. Although she currently specializes in homicides she has handled both civil and criminal proceedings, including mass torts, as¬bestos litigation, products liability, and medical malpractice in addition to criminal cases involving all major felonies. Prior to becoming a member of the judiciary, Judge Hughes was in private practice and specialized in corporate, health care, worker's compensation and insurance defense law. Before opening her own law firm, she was an associate in the corporate department of Mesirov Gelman Jaffe Cramer and Jamison; associate counsel with Independence Blue Cross where she was responsible for legal and regulatory matters for Delaware Valley HMO, a subsidiary of Independence Blue Cross; and general counsel for the Law School Admissions Council and Law School Admissions Services. Judge Hughes received her legal degree from Georgetown University Law Center and her undergradu¬ate degree from the University of Virginia. Judge Hughes was recently appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to serve on the Judicial Independence Commission which is charged with advancing the public’s understanding and appreciation of an independent judiciary and was elected to the Advisory Committee for the Pennsylvania Suggested Standard Jury Instructions – Criminal. She also served on the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing for the past decade. She is active in the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges having served on the Education Committee and the Legislative Liaison Committee. Judge Hughes served on the Constitution Project’s bi-partisan blue ribbon committee on sentencing. In 2005, Judge Hughes, was appointed to the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, by Governor Edward G. Rendell. Judge Hughes is President of the Board of Directors for The Sentencing Project working to reduce racial disparity in the criminal justice sys¬tem. Her writings are published in the Temple University Law School's Journal of Civil and Political Rights and the American Correctional Association's Annual Report on the State of Corrections. Judge Hughes is a Peer Reviewer for the Duquesne University Criminal Law Journal. Active in national, state and local bar associations, Judge Hughes has served as President of the Bar¬rister's Association (1990-91) and President of the National Bar Association, Women Lawyer's Division Philadelphia Chapter (1988-89). Judge Hughes is also a member of the National Association of Women Trial Judges. Judge Hughes' involvement in the Philadelphia community is extensive. She serves on the Boards of the Joseph J. Peters Institute, a non-profit mental health agency and Public/Private Ventures, a not for profit social policy think tank in addition to the advisory committee for a Blue Print for a Safer Philadelphia. She served on an Advisory Committee to the General Assembly of Pennsylvania to examine the issues of geriatric and seriously ill prisoners. Judge Hughes currently teaches at Drexel University and has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law. Judge Hughes has lectured at D¬¬¬¬uquesne University School of Law; Temple University School of Law; Villanova University School of Law and Randolph Macon Women’s College.