Honorable John S. Kennedy
Judge (Ret.), Court of Common Pleas, York County, Pennsylvania
Judge John S. Kennedy has been a member of the Court of Common Pleas of York County since January of 1996. He was elected in 1995 and retained in 2005 and in 2015.
The Court of Common Pleas is a Trial Court. As a Trial Court Judge, Judge Kennedy has 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. It was the second drug treatment court in Pennsylvania. In 2002, he helped establish the first Reentry Court Program in Pennsylvania. This program was intended to help establish a working relationship between the State Department of Correction, State Probation and Parole and County agencies to help incarcerated offenders reintegrate into society. In January of 2012, he undertook the expansion of the York County DUI Treatment court. The program was expanded from 50 participants to approximately 150 in 8 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 program changed how DUI cases were handled from arrest through sentencing. It is a 24/7 alcohol monitoring program with drug testing designed to promote public safety by monitoring repeat offenders pretrial with supervised bail and drug and alcohol counseling. As a result of his involvement in the development of this program, he was the recipient of the Governors Highway Safety Award in 2014, NHTSA’s Lifesavers Public Safety Service 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 National Highway Safety Administration, Judge Kennedy now serves as a Region 2 Judicial Outreach Liaison. He 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.
In addition to his treatment court duties, Judge Kennedy now presides over the Orphan’s Court Judge where he handles guardianship cases, will, estate and trust litigation, adoptions and a variety of other estate matters.
Judge Kennedy is 1976 graduate of Central Dauphin High School, a 1980 graduate of Eastern Kentucky University and a 1983 graduate of the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law. He completed Treatment Court Judicial Training in 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2011 at the National Judicial College. He was the previous chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Associations Committee on Corrections and has served on various committees of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.