Judge Vincent Melchiorre’s Sword of Justice

Filed under: Featured News,Government,South Philadelphia,South Philly |

by Maria Merlino
Common Pleas Court Judge Vincent Melchiorre, 57, struggled as a child with learning.
“I flunked the 4th grade at St. Edmond’s School,” he admits. “I couldn’t read or write. I was dyslexic. I got jumped a lot.”

Highkicking it with a traditional samuri sword, Judge Vince Melchiorre illustrates that he is a proficient swordsman Photo by Maria Merlino

Highkicking it with a traditional samuri sword, Judge Vince Melchiorre illustrates that he is a proficient swordsman Photo by Maria Merlino

By the time Judge Melchiorre got to Bishop Neumann HS, “it was an all-boys’ school, so I didn’t cut class,” he made up his mind that he wanted to be a carpenter and transfer to Bok.
His mother Mary “Linda” wouldn’t hear of it. She wanted him to go to college. She was the first in her family to speak English and had a great instinct about her son.
“There was a transfer student that came to Neumann from New York, Eric Blair. He was a black belt in Shotokan,” reminisces the Judge.
“He started a karate club and we’d meet in the cafeteria. The floor was concrete and within three months, I sustained five cracked ribs and a broken jaw, but it gave me the ability to know I could do anything I set my mind to. I made honor roll. My mother thought that was the greatest thing. My mind works in a way that I have a hearing memory. I actually took two years of Spanish to get into LaSalle College.”

The paramount of martial arts, Judge Vince Melchiorre shows his skillful use of the katana. Photo by Maria Merlino

The paramount of martial arts, Judge Vince Melchiorre shows his skillful use of the katana. Photo by Maria Merlino

Judge Melchiorre has a history of giving back. For 30 years, as an attorney, he’s provided hundreds of hours of pro bono legal work, often dedicated to helping young people. Additionally he has advocated for and taught women’s self-defense classes and volunteers as an instructor at Castelli’s Shin Karate at 7th and Oregon Avenue. “ By volunteering every week, we can keep the cost of the classes reasonable. What I’ve learned in martial arts is humility,” he says. “You have to be an empty cup so it can be filled with knowledge. Using violence is a last resort. Bullies want to pick on the weak. But you must stand firm and speak clearly. If you can run to avoid a confrontation, do it.”
In July of 2014, the Judge was appointed to the Court of Common Pleas. He is running for election this year. “People have been so good to me. Electing a good judge is more than just counting down a ballot. You must realize what a judge can do: take away your freedom, money, family, house, estate—nobody looks at it that way. A judge can have an immediate effect on your life. Lady Justice may be blind, but she’s not deaf. And I always listen.”

With many trophies as a background, Certified 4th Degree Master Instructor, Judge Vince Melchiorre and owner of Castelli’s Shin Karate, 4th Degree Master Louis Castelli. Photo by Maria Merlino

With many trophies as a background, Certified 4th Degree Master Instructor, Judge Vince Melchiorre and owner of Castelli’s Shin Karate, 4th Degree Master Louis Castelli. Photo by Maria Merlino

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