Defense closing

After 35 years as a busy Center City criminal defense lawyer, Daniel A. Rendine is leaving the world of desperate clients, cross-examination and closing arguments behind, though he’ll remain a fixture at Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center.

On May 19, Rendine, 61, won election in a vote by the city’s Common Pleas Court judges as jury commissioner, reportedly emerging from a field of 16 applicants and a runoff vote among three semifinalists. On July 5, he starts his new job of administering the system in which citizens are summoned for jury duty and then assembled into jury panels for trials.

Rendine described it as the perfect job for a lawyer who wants to continue playing a role in the justice system – just not as a practicing lawyer. The downside, he said, is that he finally has to learn how to use a computer. A bonus? He can take the escalator to office on the second floor of the 14-story CJC, which means no longer fighting for a coveted elevator slot during the usual morning scrum of defendants, witnesses, cops and lawyers.

Rendine is a native of South Philly whose father, Daniel M. Rendine, was a lawyer and who is still alive at 102. A graduate of Loyola University in Baltimore and the Widener University law school in Delaware, Rendine ran for judge three times including this year. He withdrew his candidacy after drawing a double-digit ballot position – usually fatal in city judicial elections. Rendine is also an accomplished cook, who prepares Italian specialties for charity events and has appeared in several cooking videos, “The Family Table with Dan Rendine,” that have appeared on the YouTube Internet site.

As jury commissioner, Rendine will fill a vacancy created Feb. 26 by the death of Gerard P. Shotzbarger.

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