Judge Profile

Bruce F. Bratton

Judicial Experience:

  • Judge, Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas, Appointed

Other Professional Experience:

  • Partner, Connelly, Martsolf, Reid, Bratton & Spade, 1980 to 1987
  • Specialist/E-5, United States Army, 1969 to 1970
  • Partner, Martsolf & Bratton, 1987-2001


  • JD, University of Pennsylvania School of Law, 1976
  • BA, Pennsylvania State University, 1973

Professional Civic Activities/Honors/Awards:

  • PA Trial Lawyers Association
  • PA Bar Association
  • Dauphin County Bar Association


  • Amy Dreibelbis, Law Clerk
  • Margaret Kovach, Court Crier


  • Do you have any special rules governing courtroom decorum (e.g., addressing the court, dealing with opposing counsel and witnesses, proper attire, etc.)? Courtroom decorum is to be maintained at all times. Counsel, parties and witnesses should, under almost all circumstances, be referred to formally as Mr. Jones, Ms. Smith, etc. Shorts and tank tops are inappropriate and persons wearing same will be denied entry into the courtroom. Those addressing the Court are expected to stand. Knowledge of court procedural rules is required.

  • Describe motions practice in your court. Are there any local practices that attorneys should be aware of? Dauphin County Local Rules are available at the country's website and specifically address the processing of written motions, petitions and the like. Papers filed that do not comply with local rules may be rejected by Court Administration and by means of a non-entertaining Order. All motions must be served upon all other counsel and must contain a representation that such counsel either concur or oppose the relief requested. The same local rules also specify the process and time frames for briefing and when a matter, if contested, is ready for submission to a judge for decision by means of the filing of a certificate of readiness.

  • Are there any special practices or procedures lawyers appearing before you should know about? Timeliness in a ppearing before the Court and expeditious, focused presentation of evidence, testimony and arguments is expected.

  • Any suggestions, admonitions or recommendations you would make to lawyers appearing before you? Assume that the judge is neither omniscient nor completely clueless.

  • Can the court be contacted by e-mail? Yes

  • Does the court accept filings by e-mail? Filings must be done through the appropriate filing office (Clerk of Court or Prothonotary). Courtesy copies of such documents after filing can be accomplished by email or faxes. The Court does not engage in litigation by correspondance, however. Only such matters as scheduling questions and other non-substantive matters are properly the subject of email or other contact by an attorney and, in all cases, simultaneous email, letter or fax must be sent to all other parties or their counsel to avoid ex parte communication.