Saturday, December 5, 2009

Governor Rendell Appoints Attorney Joseph Cosgrove to Fill Ciavarella Vacancy in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas

Governor Rendell has nominated Forty Fort, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania attorney Joseph Cosgrove,52, to fill the vacancy left on the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas by the departure of former Judge Ciavarella. Attorney Cosgrove must now go through the process of being approved by the Pennsylvania Legislature. The nominee has agreed not to run for this seat on the bench when it goes up for election in 2011.

Attorney Cosgrove graduated from Notre Dame University with a B.A. degree, a master's degree, and a law degree.

Mr. Cosgrove primarily practice in the field of criminal defense matters. He is also known to have handled civil rights cases, and municipal/governmental matters. Attorney Cosgrove is a past President of the Luzerne County Bar Association and is well-respected.

Cosgrove's nomination to the Luzerne County Bench is a welcomed development in a county where the civil trial list backlog is 12-18 months. The county is authorized to have 10 judges but is down to seven with the suspension of Michael Toole, who has agreed to plead guilty to felony charges and resign as part of the county corruption probe.

The number of judges in the county will be reduced to six at the start of 2010 because three judges are leaving the bench (Michael Toole resigning, Muroski retiring, and Mundy moving to senior status) and only two newly elected judges – Tina Polachek Gartley and William Amesbury – will be taking office.

In other Luzerne County news, it was announced that Judge Joseph Augello would take over the spot as President Judge at the beginning of 2010 given Judge Muroski's retirement at age 70 at the end of the year and given that Augello would be the member of the bench with the most seniority. It is expected that the President Judge position will be put up for a formal vote before the end of January. Judge Thomas Burke has publicly expressed an interest in securing the position.

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