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October 30, 2001

Judge Anthony J. Scirica to Receive 2001 Beccaria Award Nov. 28

The Philadelphia Bar Association's Criminal Justice Section and The Justinian Society of Italian-American lawyers will present the eighth annual Cesare Beccaria Award to Judge Anthony J. Scirica of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on Wednesday, November 28 at 5 p. m. in the Mayor's Reception Room on the second floor of City Hall.  A reception will follow the award presentation.

Judge Scirica was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 1987 and serves as Chair of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States. A graduate of Wesleyan University and the University of Michigan Law School, he was a Fulbright Scholar at Central University in Caracas, Venezuela. Judge Scirica has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and lectured at the Dickinson School of law and at Duke University Law School. Before joining the third Circuit he served on the U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and on the Common Pleas bench in Montgomery County. Judge Scirica has also been a member of the Pennsylvania House of representatives where he chaired the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Correction. He has also served as Chair of the Pennsylvania Sentencing Commission and was Assistant District Attorney in Montgomery County.

The Beccaria Award was created at the suggestion of local attorney Michael C. Rainone to recognize the legacy of Cesare Beccaria and honor an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to scholarship and understanding in the area of criminal justice.  Beccaria's visionary work aided subsequent European penal code reform and the eventual development of the American criminal justice system. Beccaria's Tratto dei Delitti e delle Pene ("Crime and Punishment") published in 1764 advocated a new and complete system of criminal law and procedure stressing swift trials; prompt, moderate and certain punishment; rehabilitation; and the abolition of the death penalty. These and other notions advocated by Beccaria presaged the dawn of the modern penal system.  In the 20th century, United States Supreme Court Justices William O. Douglas, Hugo L. Black and Thurgood Marshall have all cited portions of Beccaria's work in their opinions.

Previous recipients of the Cesare Beccaria Award include Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Lisa A. Richette (1994); former Temple University Law School Dean James A. Strazzella (1995); former Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Abraham J. Gafni (1996); Mary DeFusco, director of training and recruitment at the Defender Association of Philadelphia (1997); Philadelphia Municipal Court President Judge Louis J. Presenza and Temple University Law School Professor Edward D. Ohlbaum (jointly presented in 1998); retired Superior Court Judge Edmund B. Spaeth Jr. and former Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Donald C. Marino (jointly presented in 1999) and local attorney L. Felipe Restrepo (2000).

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