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Monday, April 15, 2024

27-year-old African-American man becomes the youngest-ever judge in US, sets record

A 27-year-old African-American man named Hanif Johnson has made history as the youngest-ever person to be elected as a Judge in the State of Pennsylvania, United States.

Hanif Johnson, a Harrisburg Native was elected as the youngest Magisterial District Judge in Pennsylvania. He said he had a difficult childhood and was jailed three times for minor offenses.

Hanif graduated from Harrisburg High School, United States where he decided to try out for the track team, a decision he said changed his life’s trajectory. He won several awards while playing including the 2007 Triple Jump State Champion.

After high school, Hanif proceeded to SciTech Campus and then attended Pennysylvania State University where he became the Track and Field Team Captain. He earned the honor of being an All-American in Division I Track and Field at the University.


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Hanif graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2012, with a bachelor’s degree in Economics. After graduation, he briefly served as a youth counselor at Schaffner Youth Center in Steelton, Pennsylvania.

He also served as the Director of Youth Activities and a family resource specialist at Capital R.E.B.I.R.T.H. Inc., in Harrisburg. Hanif worked as a family resource specialist with at-risk youth to assist and empower them in their personal and academic lives.

At the age of 26, he decided to run for a Dauphin County District Judge position. Hanif said that during his campaign, he knocked on local doors and encountered challenges from residents who mocked him because they thought he was too young to serve in that position.


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A magisterial district judge is elected by residents, and a law degree is not required. One must be a local resident for at least one year, be a Pennsylvania state bar member, and be no younger than 21, or older than 75.

Hanif won the general election for the Dauphin Magisterial District. He defeated Republican candidate Claude Phillips to capture 953 out of 1,300 votes or 73% of the total. He began his six-year term in 2018 and is currently serving as the Judge of Pennsylvania.

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