Judge Ellen Ceisler has served on the Court of Common Pleas since 2007.
Ellen’s background is a little different from the other Democrats running for the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. Ellen grew up as the daughter of a single mother who worked several minimum wage jobs to keep the family afloat. As too many Pennsylvanian’s know – minimum is not a real living wage; and the family lived on the bring of homelessness for most of Ellen’s childhood. Ellen started working at fourteen years old to help pay for her family’s basic living expenses.
Undeterred by her family’s situation, Ellen was committed to getting an education. She worked her way through her local community college, then with part-jobs loans, and grants, she was able to attend Temple University and Temple Law School.
Ellen started her legal career in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office as a domestic violence prosecutor. She left the DA’s Office to become an investigative journalist with CBS News, where she worked for several years. Following a major police corruption scandal in Philadelphia, Ellen was brought into the Police Department as the Deputy Director of Integrity and Accountability. In that role, she authored several expansive reports which fundamentally changed police training and tactics in Philadelphia. After three years as the Deputy Director, she was promoted to Director, where she served for four more years.
Ellen was elected to the Court of Common Pleas in 2007, and has served there ever since. She served for four years in the criminal division, and the last six in the civil division. She served for two years in a speciality court which was modeled on the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, but on a county level.
Ellen also served as the supervising judge of a non-profit called “New Leash on Life.” The organization rescues dogs from kill shelters, and places them with inmates in county correctional facilities. Under close supervision, the inmates are taught valuable pet care and dog training skills. After the inmates finish their sentences, they are placed in jobs in the pet care industry, and the dogs become therapy dogs for veterans suffering from PTSD.
Ellen is the proud mother of a son who is an Army combat veteran, a daughter who is an aspiring stand-up comedian, and brown Rottweiler named Joey.