Share This Page

Judge Cozza aims to stay on family court

| Thursday, May 9, 2013, 10:54 p.m.
Judge Paul Cozza of Baldwin Township is seeking a 10-year term on Allegheny County Common Pleas Court. He was tapped by Gov. Tom Corbett to fill a vacancy. Cozza previously spent three years as a member of the Allegheny County Board of Viewers and two decades in private practice.

Common Pleas Judge Paul E. Cozza wants to stay in family court.

“I love working with the kids,” said Cozza, 52, of Baldwin Township, who was appointed to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court last year to fill a vacancy and is running for a full term. “To possibly make a difference in kids' lives, that's the reward for it all.”

Cozza drove delivery trucks for the Post-Gazette, where his father once led the Teamsters, while going to law school at night. A newspaper strike pushed him to open his own legal practice, where he focused on criminal defense and civil litigation.

“Practicing for 19 years, you think you heard everything,” he told the Tribune-Review. “I learned in family court there's things I haven't heard.”

He's on the bench because Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, nominated Cozza, a Democrat, to help push through the nomination of his former chief of staff, Republican Bill Ward. Cozza said he met Corbett at The Grant Street Tavern, Downtown.

“He's friends with Judge (Jeffrey) Manning. I was called, and they said, ‘Why don't you come over here?' ” Cozza said. “Judge Manning introduced me.”

Despite the politics — Cozza worked part-time for Democratic state Sen. Wayne Fontana for six years — he said he's campaigning on his legal experience and touts three years he spent on the county Board of Viewers.

“That's a quasi-judicial position, so I already had that experience before sitting on the bench,” he said.

On the issues:

What's the top issue facing the court? “There's not always a great solution in cases. Sometimes you have to pick the best solution.”

How do you keep political donations by lawyers from affecting decisions from the bench? “I don't care how much money someone contributes to my campaign. That's not going to give them any preferential treatment.”

Should judges hire family members? “I don't think that because someone is a family member they should be disqualified. But if they're not qualified and you hire them just based on relationships, that is absolutely wrong.”

David Conti is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5802 or dconti@tribweb.com.

Related Content
Lawyers' trainer Bush ready for family court role
If Eleanor Bush wins election as an Allegheny County judge, she'll likely end up exactly where she wants to work. Most new Common Pleas judges start ...

Lawyer wants to put study of judges to use by sitting on bench
Patrick Connelly has watched judges in courtrooms from Erie to Harrisburg, thinking about how he could do it better from the bench. "I believe in order ...

Making a difference motivates Crawford in bid for judgeship
Rosemary Crawford recalls the moment she began thinking about becoming a judge. She was 6 years old in Mississippi when her mother, a school teacher, moved ...

Allegheny Common Pleas judge candidate Daffner tries to avoid politics
Marc Daffner says he once carried around the rejection letter he got 20 years ago from the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office so he could ...

Leibowitz makes first bid for Allegheny County judgeship
Marvin Leibowitz says he left the Social Security Administration 13 years ago because he wanted to spend more time in court. "I'm in court virtually every ...

Allegheny County Common Pleas Court judge candidate Behrend Ernsberger cites variety of cases handled in court
Barbara Behrend Ernsberger believes in the axiom that justice delayed is justice denied. While representing people who sued the life insurance industry with consumer fraud complaints, ...

Allegheny County Common Pleas judicial candidate Murray touts humble beginnings
P.J. Murray has an affinity for the underdog. He cites a childhood in Penn Hills in which he had to "claw and scratch for everything" as ...

Allegheny County Bar claims lawyer Luvara 'unqualified' for Common Pleas judge
Joseph Luvara is not concerned that the Allegheny County Bar Association deemed him "unqualified" to be a Common Pleas judge. Luvara declined to sit for an ...

Ward wants chance to make difference in family court
Bill Ward heard from fellow lawyers about the despair they encounter in family court. "I sensed on the juvenile court side there was dysfunction, but I ...

Cooper says years in court give perspective for Common Pleas judge seat
Marcia L. Cooper was surrounded by lawyers growing up in the South Hills, including her grandfather, father and brother. "I grew up in a family in ...

As judge, Tranquilli wants to intervene early
Mark Tranquilli remembers prosecuting a man in 1994, and then trying a case against his son 10 years later. Just before Tranquilli took leave this spring ...

Satler says trial experience makes her case for judicial post
Jennifer Satler has several answers for the people who ask if she's too young to be a judge. "I'm the only candidate who can serve three ...

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.