I’ve spent 32 years in Philadelphia’s Courts dedicated to those in need — and I’d be honored to join the Court of Common Pleas.
— Betsy Wahl

Three decades in Philadelphia's Courtrooms

From high-profile juvenile cases in the 1980s to present-day work as a Master in Juvenile Court, Betsy has spent the last three decades serving Philadelphia and its residents.

  • Hearing Officer in Juvenile in PA's 1st Judicial District (Philadelphia) |

    • Determined placements and outcomes for thousands of youth since 2002

    • Cases range from violent crimes to drug offenses

  • Adjunct professor at Temple University and Cabrini College | 1999-2002

    • Professor of criminal justice and criminal law

  • Mediator for juvenile and family matters | 1994-1999

    • Private and Court appointed mediator for Philadelphia Family Court Custody Program

    • Mediated issues involving child custody, divorce, separation, and other family matters

  • Finalized hundreds of adoptions | 1994-1999

  • Public Defender at the Defender Association of Philadelphia | 1984-1989

    • Represented thousands of indigent adults and juveniles in Criminal and Delinquency Court

    • Chosen to join the Juvenile Special Defense Unit -- representing serious, habitual juvenile offenders and high-publicity juvenile cases

  • Harvard University Prisoner Assistance Program | 1981-1984

    • Advocate for inmates in discipline and probation revocation hearings


Betsy first came to Philadelphia in 1979 as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. She then returned to Philadelphia after graduation from Boston University School of Law -- and she never left. 

Betsy raised her three children in Mt. Airy, where she lived for 25 years. Her youngest, Jack, is a junior at Central High School. Betsy's oldest, Abby, is a wildlife biologist in Washington, DC, and Emily is at NYU in a Master's program for social work. 

Betsy currently lives in Fairmount.

By the numbers

1984 | became member of the Philadelphia Bar 

1,100 | average number of cases handled, each month, as Master in Juvenile Court

17 | years presiding as a Hearing Officer in Juvenile Court

0 | number of ethical violations serving as Hearing Officer in Juvenile Court

20 | years trained in mediation (divorce, custody, victim/offender, reunification)

1981 | year graduated from University of Pennsylvania

3E | courtroom where Betsy serves as Hearing Officer in Juvenile Court