Westmoreland County will have fewer judges
By Paul Peirce
Published: Thursday, May 9, 2013, 7:39 p.m.
The state Supreme Court Thursday formally approved a plan to reduce the number of district judges in Westmoreland County from 17 to 16, starting in 2018.
The court approved a proposal recommended last year by a panel of Westmoreland County officials, judges and district judges that will eliminate Unity Township District Judge Michael Mahady's current district, effective Jan. 1, 2018.
The plan was suggested to reduce costs but was opposed by officials in all three municipalities covered by Mahady — the City of Latrobe, Unity Township, and Youngstown Borough.
Those municipalities unsuccessfully asked the county to reconsider its plan, citing an increasing volume of cases at Mahady's office, the district's size and increasing population, plus the convenience of the centralized office.
Mahady's office along Route 981 between Latrobe and Route 30 covers a region of central Westmoreland County with a population of 31,270, or about 9 percent of the county's total population. The office serves a retail-trade area of more than 50,000 people.
Under the new redistricting plan, cases from Latrobe will be handled by Derry Township District Judge Mark Bilik. Cases from the Unity voting districts of Baggaley, Beatty, Dorothy, Gravel Hill, Lloydsville, Pleasant Unity, Roble and Whitney will be heard before Ligonier District Judge Denise Snyder Thiel, under the order.
Hempfield District Judge James Falcon's office, just outside of Youngwood, will handle cases from the Unity voting districts of Crabtree, Denison, Kuhn, Marguerite and Mutual.
Under the plan, cases in the municipalities of Donegal Township and Donegal Borough, which are now under Thiel's jurisdiction, will be heard by Mt. Pleasant District Judge Roger Eckels.
Cases in New Stanton Borough and the New Stanton voting district of Hempfield Township, which are now under Falcon's jurisdiction, will be transferred to the office of Scottdale District Judge Chuck Moore.
Court administrator Paul Kuntz has said the state Supreme Court wanted counties to cut the number of district judges' offices by 10 percent.
Mahady will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 2017. His office would close after he retires.
For many years, Latrobe had its own district judge, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1992 ordered the office of District Judge Angelo Caruso in Latrobe to merge with Mahady's office.
The Supreme Court was acting on a recommendation of then-President Judge Charles Marker, who cited a reduced case load in the Latrobe office as a reason for that consolidation.
Latrobe appealed that order to county officials, but also to no avail. Caruso's office was closed in January 1998.
Paul Peirce is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-850-2860 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.
- Trafford police arrest woman selling drugs for `shopping money’
- Norvelt to begin new holiday event
- Norvelt EMS hopes to fill an ambulance with toys
- West Overton plans ‘Homestead Holiday’
- Jeannette man accused in assault with tire iron
- Latrobe police install drug take-back box
- Help on deck to help Jeannette deal with Monsour, nearby buildings
- Jeannette alerted to police costs
- Crash closes I-70 lanes for hours
- Pair robs Hempfield pharmacy
- Greensburg inks new deal with police chief