Judge recommends no changes in county magisterial districts
President Judge William E. Baldwin is recommending the state legislature make no changes in redistricting the seven magisterial districts in Schuylkill County and invited public input to voice their opinion.
Baldwin stated, "Following each census, the president judge is required by law to review the number and alignment of magisterial judicial districts to determine whether Schuylkill County, the 21st Judicial District of Pennsylvania, has the right number of districts to respond to the judicial caseload within the county and whether the municipalities have been properly assigned within each magisterial district so that the workload is evenly distributed across the various districts.
"Although this review is required by law to be done every 10 years, a review and realignment may take place sooner if circumstances warrant. Because of a population decrease, combined with the planned retirement of two magistrates within the county, a review was completed during 2010 and changes were recommended to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.
"The recommendation called for a reduction in the number of magisterial district courts serving the county from eight to seven and the realignment of municipalities included within each of the remaining districts to accommodate those municipalities that were in the district which was to be eliminated. The Supreme Court approved that recommendation and the changes went into effect last spring.
"Because the new alignment of magisterial districts has been in place for such a short time, there is very little available data to accurately ascertain how the changes are working. However, since there is no current indication that any of the seven magisterial district offices are experiencing difficulty in serving the judicial needs of the municipalities within their borders, it is the intention of the president judge to recommend no change in the current number of boundaries of the seven magisterial judicial districts within Schuylkill County."
The judge invites public comment. Any member of the public wishing to comment on the recommendation to leave all magisterial judicial districts within the county as they currently exist must be submitted in writing by regular mail or email no later than March 1. The mailing address is: President Judge, 401 N. Second St., Pottsville, PA 17901. Email comments may be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The municipalities located in each of the magisterial districts are as follows:
District 212-2-01 presided by Magisterial District Judge Christina E. Hale at 619 W. Oak St., Frackville - Boroughs of Ashland, Frackville, Gilberton, Girardville and Gordon; and townships of Butler, North Union, Ryan, Union and Altamont of West Mahanoy Township.
District 21-3-01 presided by Judge David A Plachko in Borough Building, Second Street, Port Carbon - Boroughs of Mechanicsville, Middleport, Minersville, New Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Port Carbon and Saint Clair; and townships of Blythe, East Norwegian, New Castle, Norwegian and Schuylkill.
District 21-3-03 presided by Judge James R. Ferrier at 209 N. Warren St., Orwigsburg- Boroughs of Auburn, Cressona, Deer Lake, Landingville, New Ringgold, Orwigsburg, Port Clinton and Schuylkill Haven; and townships of East Brunswick, North Manheim, South Manheim, Walker, Wayne, West Brunswick and West Penn.
District 21-3-04 presided by Judge Carol A. Pancake at 109 N. Pine St., Tremont - Boroughs of Pine Grove, Tower City and Tremont; and townships of Barry, Branch, Cass, Foster, Eldred, Frailey, Hegins, Hubleuy, Pine Grove, Porter, Reilly, Tremont, Upper Mahantongo and Washington.
District 21-3-05 presided by Judge Anthony J. Kilker at 33 S. Main St., Shenandoah - Boroughs of Mahanoy City and Shenandoah; and townships of Delano, East Union, Mahanoy and West Mahanoy.
District 21-3 -06 presided by Judge Stephen J. Bayer at Rear 320 E. Broad St., Tamaqua - Boroughs of Coaldale, McAdoo and Tamaqua; and townships of Kline and Rush.
District 212-3-07 presided by Judge James K. Reily at 200 N. Center St., Pottsville - Borough of Mount Carbon and City of Pottsville.