A Win for Our Communities: Judge Genece Brinkley Will Not Seek Re-Election

protesters hold signs calling for the resignation of Judge Genece Brinkley

A joint statement from Amistad Movement Power, Straight Ahead, and Free The Ballot. We are grateful for the leadership of Straight Ahead who organized our movement family to take on the injustice of Judge Genece Brinkley:


Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley's decision not to seek re-election to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas is welcome news to Philadelphia's social justice and abolitionist movements who have organized efforts calling for her resignation. 


This decision effectively brings her three-decades long reign of judicial incompetence and repression to an end. During that time, Judge Brinkley has consistently abused her power, intimidating, terrorizing, and punishing Philadelphia’s most vulnerable people and communities. Her reign as Common Pleas Judge has been characterized by the most egregious forms of moral, ethical, constitutional and human rights violations – even by the standards of her own peers, who have publicly criticized her behavior on the bench, including Pennsylvania’s highest court. 


Judge Brinkley’s ability to terrorize Philadelphians, unchecked, for over thirty years, was made possible by the lack of transparency in the Philadelphia judicial election process. It is this reason why we must continue to work to dismantle a process that allows incompetent judges, like Brinkley, to win elections through backroom-party deals. We must have judges who are committed to accountability and the best interests of the communities they serve.   


This news stands as a victory for Judge Brinkley’s countless victims, and our community as a whole. It proves that voters in Philadelphia value transparency and accountability, over harshness and retribution. Moreover, this news demonstrates that when the spotlight is shined on injustice, the power of our voices, united, are effective in demanding the change we deserve. 


Said Nikki Grant, Movement Director of Amistad Movement Power: 


“As a lawyer who has argued cases in Judge Brinkley’s courtroom, I’ve seen firsthand how her conduct has torn families apart, cost people their jobs, and ruined lives by jailing Philadelphians excessively and unconstitutionally. Judge Brinkley represents the worst of a criminal legal system that far too often prioritizes punishment over rehabilitation, and vengeance over justice. Philadelphians deserve a justice system that foregrounds transformation. I am relieved that Judge Brinkley no longer has the power to inflict harm on our communities.” 


Said Robert Saleem Holbrook, Executive Director of Straight Ahead:


“Brinkley’s worst fear, in her own words, “was that voters would find out that she was inept, tainted by scandal and unable to perform the duties of her profession.” The spotlight we brought on her exposed her incompetence and injustice to the people of Philadelphia, and rather than face accountability at the ballot box, like a coward she bowed out. This is a victory and vindication for her victims, and an indictment on a system that allowed these abuses to go unchecked for thirty years.” 


Said Tonya Bah, Executive Director of Free The Ballot: 


“Brinkley’s behavior has been recognized as problematic and there is some comfort in knowing the power and influence held by elected officials will be scrutinized by the people it promises to serve. To the individuals and families that were harmed by this Judge, we stand with you prepared to challenge the unjust wearing a suit, dress or robe. All power to the people!”