Judge John Wagner takes oath
By Bob Stiles
Published: Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, 7:34 p.m.
Surrounded by family, friends and colleagues, John F. Wagner Jr. of Connellsville was sworn in Friday as president judge of Fayette County Common Pleas Court.
He succeeds Gerald R. Solomon, who administered the oath of office during a ceremony in stately Courtroom No. 1 in the county courthouse in Uniontown.
Solomon turned 70 this year and can no longer serve as judge. He will continue service as a senior judge.
“I would like to thank all of you for coming,” Wagner told the standing-room-only crowd of family members, judges, attorneys, well-wishers and members of law enforcement. “I really, really appreciate it.”
The judge with the most seniority becomes president judge in Fayette County.
“This isn't something you earn because you've been particularly brilliant,” Wagner joked during the ceremony. “All you need to do is live.”
In a more serious moment before taking the oath as president judge, Wagner said, “I feel fortunate to have been able to attain the position. I'm glad my health is good and I can continue on.”
Wagner, 65, was appointed as a judge in November 1987 after Judge Fred C. Adams retired. Wagner was nominated for the bench by former state Sen. Bill Lincoln, whom Wagner thanked during the ceremony.
After his appointment, Wagner was elected to a 10-year term in 1989. He followed by winning two retention elections, the last held in 2009.
“It's hard for me to believe 25 years have passed by since I first took the oath as a judge,” Wagner said.
He recalled the difficulty he and his wife, Christine, had in putting on his robes 25 years ago because he forgot, at first, to take off his suit coat.
He said he wished his wife, who is ill, could have attended Friday's ceremony.
Wagner is one of five Fayette County judges, including Steve Leskinen and Nancy Vernon. Ralph C. Warman, 70, retired this year and became a senior judge.
Elections will be held in 2013 to fill both Solomon and Warman's places on the bench.
Solomon has joined with other county judges across the state in filing a legal challenge to the state's mandatory retirement age of 70 years for judges.
Wagner practiced law from 1972 to 1987 in Connellsville.
He served as an assistant public defender from 1972 to 1976 and was an assistant district attorney from 1977 to 1987.
“I am honored to serve with Judge Wagner on the bench, in the district attorney's office,” Solomon said. “I'm honored to administer the oath of office. But I'm most honored on him being my friend.”
Wagner has four adult children.
He praised his predecessors as president judge — Solomon and Conrad Capuzzi, a senior judge who attended the ceremony — and said he learned from both of them.
“I hope to continue on with the things they have implemented and started,” Wagner said before the ceremony.
Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Connellsville area benefits from tourism grant program
- $1.3M equipment, which lowers voltage, leaves Connellsville for Charleroi
- Everson council to meet on Monday
- Connellsville police hitting the streets on foot and bikes
- Connellsville’s new curfew —with stiffer penalties — to begin on April 26
- No date set for closing on proposed hotel property in Connellsville
- Fayette County candy stores say public sweet on jelly beans as well as chocolate
- Connellsville not yet worried about possible CDBG cuts
- Celebrate National Library Month with sweet contest in Connellsville
- Brush fire season keeps Fayette firefighters busy
- Attorney says Fayette County officials’ policy on recording goes against state law