State OKs new magisterial district, sets up race for judge seat

June 27th, 2015 1:23 am

First Posted: 2/28/2013

The battle lines are drawn, so to speak.

The state Supreme Court this week approved Yatesville, Jenkins Township and Pittston Township being added to the magisterial district that currently represents Pittston City, Dupont, Duryea and Hughestown.

Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Thomas Burke submitted the proposed plan to revise the district under a directive from the administrative office of Pennsylvania courts.

The vast Pittston and Jenkins townships and small borough of Yatesville are currently in the territory of District Judge Diana Malast in Plains Township whose district was reduced to just Laflin and Plains Township.

The Pittston seat is currently occupied on an interim basis by Senior Magisterial Judge Andrew Barilla Jr., formerly the longtime Swoyersville judge. He was appointed to the seat after Fred Pierantoni became a county judge.

One early favorite for the district magistrate’s seat was former Luzerne County District Attorney Jackie Musto Carroll, but she has decided not to run.

“I did receive a lot of encouragement from my supporters, but in searching my heart of hearts, I decided it just wasn’t the direction I wanted to take my career,” Musto Carroll said. “But I won’t close any doors at this time.”

Musto Carroll, of Yatesville, waited for the high court ruling because she lives in a town that is newly realigned.

As of now, she is not supporting any candidate.

“I know most of the candidates, and I know some of them very, very well,” she said. “They’re all good people.”

She said there’s a lot of speculation on who will come out on top, but she didn’t want to make a prediction.

“I’m not very good at speculation,” she said.

Candidates who have annouced their candidacy in the Sunday Dispatch include:

- Art Bobbouine, of Pittston, has served as Luzerne County’s Chief Deputy Sheriff and currently serves as the Prothonotary and Clerk of Courts for Luzerne County. He also teaches in the Criminal Justice program and general education courses at Fortis Institute in Forty Fort.

- Alexandra “Sciandra” Kokura, of Dupont, is a court-appointed Special Master presiding over Family Court in Lackawanna County. She also served as a law clerk and was responsible for conducting comprehensive legal research and participating in the judicial process of resolving legal issues.

- Jeffrey C. Kulick, of Hughestown, is a practicing lawyer. He is affiliated with the Kulick Law Firm, LLC, in Exeter with his brother and serves as co-solicitor for the Greater Pittston YMCA.

- Qiana Murphy Lehman, of Pittston, is a trial lawyer who has prosecuted criminals with the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office and has trial experience on the civil law side working with the law firm of Brady & Grabowski in Wilkes-Barre. She previously established a practice in downtown Pittston.

- Girard “Jerry” Mecadon, of Jenkins Township, runs a law office in Pittston. He served as a law clerk in the U.S. Attorney’s Office and was previosuly a law partner of Judge Michael T. Vough. He is also an assistant public defender for Luzerne County. He serves on the board of directors of Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce.

- James “Red” O’Brien, of Pittston, served as mayor of Avoca for three years, was elected to three terms on the Pittston Area School Board where he served as president in 2007 and served a 4-year term as the Luzerne County as the Recorder of Deeds.

- Len Sanguedolce, a lifelong resident of the Greater Pittston area, practices law on Main Street in Pittston. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in economics from The University of Scranton and a law degree from Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law.

- Mark Singer, of Pittston, is a practicing lawyer. He served in Lehigh County as a public defender and an assistant district attorney in Luzerne County and First Assistant Liaison to the Lower Lackawanna/Upper Luzerne County Drug Task Force. He also served as a municipal police officer, instructor and taugh crimal law and criminal procedure at Luzerne County Community College. He also served on the Pittston Area School Board.

Magisterial district judges are elected to six-year terms and are paid $72,000 a year.

All candidates can cross-file if enough signatures are presented.