In the legal community, Judge Carolyn Tornetta Carluccio is a name synonymous with experience, integrity, and pioneering leadership. As the ﬁrst woman President Judge in the history of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, she is now vying for a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where her qualiﬁcations speak for themselves. But before delving into her professional accomplishments, it is crucial to understand her roots – deeply embedded in her Italian heritage – that have signiﬁcantly inﬂuenced her journey.
Carolyn Tornetta Carluccio grew up in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in a hardworking family led by a ﬁrst-generation Italian immigrant father and a proud Irish-Catholic mother. From her father, whose parents immigrated from Sciacca, Sicily, she learned traditional Italian values of strong work ethic, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to family and community. Her parents ran a successful family business, laying a foundation of business acumen and ethical governance that would later serve her in diverse roles within the legal system.
As a young woman, Carolyn was inspired by her uncle, the Honorable Joseph Smyth, a former Montgomery County District Attorney and longtime judge on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas. As a role model, she learned from her uncle that with dedication and hard work, along with the right opportunities, she could have an impact and make a difference in the lives of those who were involved in the legal and judicial systems.
Judge Carluccio started her career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, prosecuting cases against large-scale drug dealers, bank robbers, and money launderers. In this role, she received accolades from the U.S. Secret Service, the DEA, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. As her career progressed, she continued to distinguish herself as the ﬁ rst woman Chief Public Defender for Montgomery County, and then elected Judge on the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, where she has served for the past 14 years. Judge Carluccio continues to shine as a judge using her legal background and sense of responsibility that she learned from her Italian heritage.
Endorsed by the Pennsylvania Bar Association Judicial Evaluation Committee as “Highly Recommended” and backed by multiple law enforcement organizations and the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, Carluccio is a standout candidate for Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court. Her list of commendations and awards is extensive.
Her professional life mirrors the vibrant tapestry of her heritage – a seamless blend of Italian values and American judicial tenets. As she aims for a seat on Pennsylvania’s highest court, Judge Carolyn Carluccio is not just carrying her exceptional qualiﬁcations, but also the rich legacy of an Italian-American background that champions integrity, diligence and community service.
Born and raised in a county that she has served passionately, married, and a mother to three adult children, Judge Carolyn Carluccio is not just a candidate for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, she is a symbol of what the American Dream can achieve when fueled by hard work and enriched by vibrant cultural roots. With this background, Judge Carluccio is seeking to become the ﬁrst Italian-American woman to serve as a Justice on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
The author is deputy general counsel for J P. Mascaro & Sons, and president of the Americans of Italian Heritage Council.