David Barton was appointed a magisterial district judge by Governor Tom Ridge and took office in October 1996. He won election to full terms in 1997, 2003, 2009, 2015, and 2021. Prior to his judicial service, he served for 11 years as a councilman in Whitehall Borough, a home rule municipality located in suburban Allegheny County.
He has been an active member of the Special Court Judges Association since early in his judicial career, serving, co-chairing, and chairing various committees, including co-chairing the Special Communications Committee upon its creation, and creating, writing, and editing Talking Points, a newsletter to promote consistent legislative relations strategies for the Association beginning in 2003, He also served as Special Communications Committee chair (2005 – 2008), and as a member of the Association’s Minor Court Rules Committee (2008 – 2013). More recently he has served as a member of the Ethics & Professionalism Committee (2013-2015), and then as its chair (2019 — present).
In 2013, he represented the Association along with Solicitor Joyce, by filing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the matter of In re Mark A. Bruno, addressing the conflicting powers conferred by the Constitution of Pennsylvania’s 1994 amendments to Article V concerning judicial disciplinary process.
In 2015, the Supreme Court appointed him as a judge on the Court of Judicial Discipline. Judge Barton’s tenure on the CJD came at the busiest period in its history, seeing record-level case filings arising from the Philadelphia Traffic Court scandal in attrition to its usual caseload. He was elected President Judge by his peers for 2018 – 2019.
Also beginning in 2015, and continuing until 2021, Judge Barton has worked to ensure equal access to our courts for limited English-speaking individuals. He served on AOPC’s Language Access Advis01Y Group, where he aided in defining the role of and writing the state judiciary’s language access plan from 2015 until 2018. In 2018, once the Language Access Plan was submitted to the Supreme Court, he was asked to join AOPC’s Management and Evaluation Team to assess how the plan was being implemented by judicial districts and determine whether the judicial branch was complying with Federal law,
In 2022, upon creating the Judicial Ethics Advisory Board to succeed the
Trial Court Judges’ Ethics Committee and the SCJAP Ethics & Professionalism Committees’ ethics advisory roles, the Supreme Court named Barton as one of the two MDJ members.
David is a graduate of Duquesne University School of Law (Juris Doctorate), where he was a member of the DUQUESNE LAW REVIEW. He also holds a B.A. Degree in Public Policy from Tulane University. He has received numerous professional awards, including, in 2017, the SCJAP’s John J. Jeffers Award. Barton serves as solicitor for the Association’s 12th District (Allegheny County) (2014 — present). He has planned, authored, and presented numerous CLE and CJE sessions for audiences as varied as refugee populations to the bench of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
As a practicing attorney, Attorney Barton has been affiliated with the Bentz Law Firm, P.C., in the Mt. Lebanon suburb of Pittsburgh since 2001. He is admitted to practice before all Pennsylvania state courts, the federal courts in the Western and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. His practice includes matters in federal and state trial and appellate courts, both locally, regionally, and nationally. He has tried many civil cases to verdict and obtained relief for his clients through summary judgment, motion practice, trial, and settlement. He is a member of the Surety Claims Institute, an invitation-only professional association in the surety and fidelity bond industry.
David Barton was selected and appointed as Solicitor for the SCJAP effective July 2023.