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Corbett names 2 attorneys to Westmoreland bench

| Friday, June 20, 2014, 1:56 p.m.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Lower Burrell attorney David Regoli served as a Westmoreland County judge from summer 2014 to the end of 2015 when he lost an election bid. He's a former Lower Burrell councilman.
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Attorney Harry F. Smail Jr., nominated to be a Westmoreland County Common Pleas Court judge.

One Republican and one Democrat were appointed Friday to fill vacancies on the Westmoreland County Court of Common Pleas.

Gov. Tom Corbett on Friday announced that Greensburg lawyer Harry Smail and Lower Burrell attorney David Regoli were selected to replace recently-retired judges John Blahovec of Hempfield and Gary Caruso of Rostraver.

Each candidate must be confirmed by the state Senate for a $173,703-a-year position.

Their appointments are part of a package of selections announced by the governor to fill court vacancies in Philadelphia and Allegheny County, along with other openings in the state.

Smail, 48, a Republican, made two unsuccessful runs to be elected to the bench, including a defeat in 2013.

“We started working on this right after the 2013 primary,” Smail said of the gubernatorial appointment. “I bring a common-sense, conservative view to protect the citizens of Westmoreland County.”

Smail has practiced law since 1998. He worked as a county probation officer while earning his law degree in night school.

Smail serves as solicitor for the Westmoreland County Sheriff's Department. He served as solicitor for the county clerk of courts office and the Westmoreland County Republican Committee.

Regoli, 49, a Democrat, is the son of John Regoli, a former county commissioner and state senator.

“It's something I've always wanted to do, but the timing was always an issue,” David Regoli said.

“I made a decision several months ago to run and getting the appointment certainly helped,” he said.

Regoli has served as a lawyer since 1991 and has a private practice that focuses on civil, criminal and corporate law. He serves as a councilman in Lower Burrell, a position he said he will leave next month.

Regoli serves as the solicitor for county Clerk of Courts Bryan Kline.

Both Smail and Regoli will have to run for election in 2015 for a full, 10-year term.

It is expected there will be three judicial slots on the ballot.

Judge Al Bell will retire next month, accounting for a third vacancy on what should be an 11-member bench.

Westmoreland County Court Administrator Paul Kuntz said Friday's appointments come as the court system has been backlogged because of the retirements.

“It's been difficult to keep up with the backlog with these vacancies,” Kuntz said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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