Judge Carolyn H. Nichols, elected to the Court of Common Pleas in 2011, conducts felony jury trials in criminal court, with equal justice, protecting the rights of crime victims, and the accused; she works to create opportunities for positive reentry to prevent recidivism. She attended public schools and graduated from Temple University JD, LLM, and Eastern University MBA programs.
Her professional career spans over 20 years of public service, including Legislative Assistant to former Councilwoman, Augusta Clarke; Assistant City Solicitor, Deputy Secretary of External Affairs for the Mayor’s Office, and Deputy Finance Director, managing the Minority Business Enterprise Council. In 2014, Philadelphia City Council honored Judge Nichols for receiving the City Office of Economic Opportunity’s Guardian of Economic Inclusion Award for her service as MBEC Director. Judge Nichols has received recognition for her community service, including the Overbrook High School Hall of Fame. In 2007 and 2008, Judge Nichols was honored by the Philadelphia Tribune as one of the City’s Most Influential African Americans. She was co-counsel for the Huntingdon Valley swimming pool racial discrimination case in 2009, in which minority children were denied access to the Club’s pool. The case received international attention.
Judge Nichols is active in mentoring, and peace building programs in public schools to stop violence, and to disrupt the school to prison pipeline with groups such as School Dist. FACE (Family and Community Engagement). She promotes inclusion and dialogue with groups such as, Mothers in Charge to stop the senseless youth homicides; PhilaPosh for worker safety; Truman Project for international understanding; Masjidullah; Al Aqsa Islamic Society; Jewish Federation of Greater Phila; Greater Phila Hispanic Chamber Commerce; BMEC (Black male educators); and NewCore – generating conversations on race and ethnicity. Judge Nichols initiated a dialogue group with African American and Jewish professional women with the American Jewish Committee. She is a member of the Philadelphia Education Fund, Education First Compact, to improve public education in local schools. During the 2008 Presidential Campaign, she helped deploy 8,000 attorneys at polling places across PA, for PA Voter Protection, and served on the Board of Governors, Recording Academy, Philadelphia Chapter (Grammys).