ShareThis Page
Pennsylvania

Parties scramble to find candidates for state Superior Court

| Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

An indicted judge's decision to retire and abandon his retention bid has state political leaders scrambling to fill the ballot for Superior Court.

Both parties are likely to select nominees at state committee meetings on Sept. 8 in Harrisburg. The seat is up for grabs Nov. 6 because Superior Court Judge Michael T. Joyce said he will retire when his term expires in January.

Joyce, 58, a Republican from Erie, pleaded not guilty Monday to federal charges of mail fraud and money laundering. He is accused of bilking two insurance companies out of $440,000.

Democrats and Republicans will each get three nominees for Superior Court in a race in which the top three vote-getters are elected. Two candidates from each party already were nominated in the primary.

With Joyce's seat coming open, Democrats could regain a majority on the 15-member appellate court, which now has eight Republican and seven Democratic judges. However, Democrats would have to win all three, because the other two positions on the ballot are seats being vacated by Democrats.

State GOP headquarters received several calls Tuesday from potential candidates, said Michael Barley, spokesman for the Republican State Committee.

"There is definitely some interest," Barley said. "Our committee members are already starting to examine" prospective candidates.

"I'm sure there are conversations taking place right now," said State Democratic Committee spokesman Abe Amoros. "It's ultimately up to the state committee."

The parties have a Sept. 17 deadline to file nominating papers.

In the primary, Republicans nominated Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Cheryl Lynn Allen and Dauphin County Judge Bruce Bratton. Democrats nominated Allegheny County Judge Ron Folino and Downtown lawyer Christine Donohue.

Murrysville attorney Jackie Shogan, an endorsed Republican who narrowly lost in the primary, is a likely candidate for the third GOP nomination, analysts say. Philadelphia Judge Paul Panepinto, who ran unsuccessfully for state Supreme Court in the primary, is another potential GOP contender.

Philadelphia Judge John M. Younge, the only Democrat running for Superior Court in the primary who received the state committee's endorsement, is considered a likely candidate for the Democratic nomination.

The state Supreme Court yesterday assigned Senior Judge Fred P. Anthony to temporarily take over Joyce's duties during his suspension. Anthony, 71, who spent more than three decades as an Erie County judge, will work out of Joyce's chambers in Erie and begin his duties Monday, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

Superior Court judges make $163,342 a year.

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.

click me