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Caffrey announces candidacy for Lehigh County judge

Lehigh County Solicitor Tom Caffrey has announced he is seeking to fill one of the three judicial vacancies in Lehigh County.

Caffrey, 59, was born and raised in Allentown’s working-class First Ward.

After graduating from Allentown Central Catholic High School, the Pennsylvania State University, and the Dickinson School of Law, Caffrey started his legal career as an assistant solicitor in the Lehigh County Department of Law.

In 1991, he was appointed to serve as the full-time Lehigh County Juvenile Master.

He conducted delinquency hearings related to criminal conduct by juveniles and dependency hearings related to issues of parental neglect and child abuse, and earned a reputation for being tough but fair.

Caffrey says he not only gained valuable judicial experience, but also significant insight into the underlying issues of poverty, parental neglect, drug abuse and mental illness that often lead to ongoing involvement in the criminal justice system.

In 1998, he was appointed to serve as a prosecutor in the Lehigh County District Attorney’s Office.

He prosecuted defendants charged with felony criminal offenses such as burglary, aggravated assault and robbery, and tried many of these cases to verdict.

From 2001 through 2004, Caffrey headed the Children and Youth Services Legal Unit.

He returned to the Department of Law in 2004, and litigated the county’s most significant federal civil rights cases, often representing the county’s corrections officers and law enforcement personnel.

In May 2020, Caffrey was elevated to serve as Lehigh County solicitor.

He now heads the Department of Law, which consists of 10 attorneys, two paralegals and the Right-to-Know Officer.

Caffrey advises county officials on the wide array of legal matters impacting county government and its residents.

Caffrey is currently the City of Allentown’s solicitor to the Police and Fire Civil Service Board, and in the past served as special solicitor to the Police Pension Board in disability pension matters and special solicitor to City Council in police officer termination cases.

He also represented the city’s police officers in federal civil rights litigation.

In his private practice, Caffrey has handled a wide variety of legal matters while working for local law firms and operating his own law practice, including family law, employment, criminal defense, land use and zoning, real estate, and wills and estates, and has significant civil litigation experience.

He currently serves as the solicitor to the zoning hearing boards in Moore, Lehigh and Plainfield townships and Hellertown Borough.

Caffrey explained why he is seeking a seat on the Lehigh County bench.

“I have dedicated my career to serving the people of Lehigh County, and I believe that I am well qualified to serve as a common pleas judge,” Caffrey said. “I have valuable experience as a judicial official and more than 34 years of experience in both civil and criminal law.

“I have the academic ability and experience to handle complex legal matters, but also the common sense required to understand and deal with the wide variety of issues and problems that come before a common pleas judge on a daily basis.

“I will work hard, maintain an open mind, and treat all those who come before me fairly and with respect.”

Caffrey and his wife, Bobbi Jo Caffrey, who is an optician for Dr. Binae Karpo, live in Whitehall and are members of the Immaculate Conception Church, Allentown.

Caffrey has three adult daughters, Kate, Kristen and Lauren Angela, and an adult stepson, Scott.

He has served as a volunteer at the Lehigh Valley Hospital and is a member of the Whitehall Area Rotary Club.

Caffrey, a Republican, will cross file to appear on both parties’ ballots.

Tom Caffrey