Judge Joseph F. McCloseky, of Pottsville, former President Judge of the Schuylkill County Court and currently a Senior Judge with the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court, was honored by his fellow judges at a court session Thursday in the Ceremonial Courtroom at the Schuylkill County Courthouse in Pottsville.
This was the first time the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held a regular court session in Schuylkill County. McCloskey has been a senior judge since l998 and will be leaving the bench next January.
His position with the Commonwealth Court was a president judge of the Court of Judicial; Discipline. McCloskey is a graduate of Pottsville Catholice High School and Shippensburg University and received his law degree from Villanova University School of Law. He was appointed a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in 1975 and became president judge in 1990, retiring in 1997.
Proceedings got underway with the six Schuylkill County judges entering the courtroom and instead of moving to the bench as they do when they sit court en banc, took their seats in the jury box. The members of the Commonwealth Court followed and took their possessions on the bench.
President Judge Boinnie Brigance Leadbetter addressed an audience of about 100 friends of McCloskey who attended the ceremony. "We are happy to be here," she stated and spoke about McCloskey's contribution to the court. Leadbetter also commented about the beautiful courtroom in which the ceremony took place.
Attorney Fred Fanelli, president of the Schuylkill County Bar Association, welcomed members of the court and also paid tribute to McCloskey, pointing out he has known him most of his life and the judge was the family lawyer and also spoke of his fairness on the bench and never losing his common touch.
Judge William Baldwin, president judge of the Schuylkill County Court, spoke of his association with McCloskey, claiming he was well instructed in administration policies by the judge before he became the president judge.
McCloskey did not speak but after court adjourned stood in line for a long period greeting the visitors who attended the ceremony.
The other six judges of the Commonwealth Court present were Johnny J.D .Butler, Philadlephiap; Renee Cohn Jubelirer, Allentown; Mary Hannah Leavitit, Harrisburg; Bernard L. McGinley, Pittsburgh; Dan Pellegrini, Pittsburgh; and Robert Simpson, Nazareth.
The court later resumed to hear regular cases brought before them and also a panel of judges held court preceedings in the commissioners' board room with the county commissioners holding their work session in an adjoining room.