Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Governor Rendell Announces Two More Appointments to Fill Vacancies on Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas

Governor Rendell has nominated Lewis Wood Wetzel, Esquire of Dallas and Joseph Van Jura, Esquire of Kingston to fill the open judgeships on the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas. It is hoped that these nominees will be whisked through the nomination process quickly so they can assist with the backlog in the court system.

According to the website of his law firm, Wetzel, Caverly, Shea, Phillips, and Rodgers , Attorney Wetzel is a 1968 graduate of the Dickinson School of Law and has specialized in Real Estate Law, Business Litigation, Probate, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts. See http://www.wcsprlaw.com/bios.html.

According to Martindale-Hubbell, Attorney Van Jura graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School and entered the practice of law in 1972. His legal specialties are listed as covering Litigation; Insurance Defense; Personal Injury; Torts; Real Estate; Education Law; Zoning, Planning and Land Use.

According to a February 9, 2010 article by Dave Janoski in the Citizens Voice, Attorney Wetzel and Attorney Van Jura will fill vacancies created by the corruption-related resignation of former judge Michael T. Toole and the election defeat of former judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr.

The article also noted that Wetzel and Van Jura would serve through 2011, at which point voters will choose two judges to serve 10-year terms.

Janoski also wrote that the addition of Wetzel and Van Jura to the short-handed county bench would leave the county with nine of its 10 judicial slots filled. Last year, the state Supreme Court halted an election to fill the 10th seat on the bench, left vacant after it removed former judge Ann Lokuta from office in December 2008. Lokuta, who was accused of mistreating court employees and attorneys, is still in the process of seeking reinstatement.

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