History of the 59th Judicial District

On January 8, 1952, Act No. 494 was signed by the then governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This act designated "the several judicial districts of the Commonwealth..." and further provided for the election and commissioning of judges for the various districts. The act identified a total of 59 judicial districts in the Commonwealth, of which Elk and Cameron Counties were designated as the 59th Judicial District, the last one so identified by number until the 60th was recently formed.

Prior to that time, Elk, Cameron, and Clinton counties altogether comprised the 25th Judicial District. In effect therefore, a circuit judge traveled to and from the three counties and sat with associate judges, residents of each of the three counties, on the various matters of litigation.

Because of the resultant impracticality and ever increasing business before the Court, it became necessary to create the new 59th Judicial District, although associate judges were used continuously in Elk and Cameron Counties until the early part of the 1970s, at which time the elected office of associate judge was terminated throughout the Commonwealth.

The judge's responsibilities in the 59th Judicial District involve the disposition of all matters in litigation in whatever area of the law or legal issues that are involved, including criminal cases of every nature, civil cases, family law matters including support, custody and visitation rights, divorce and equitable distribution, all orphans' court matters including adoptions, termination of parental rights proceedings, guardianship proceedings, juvenile delinquency and dependency proceedings, appeals from magisterial district judge convictions and civil judgments, appeals from motor vehicle driver's license suspensions, zoning board rulings, and many other miscellaneous matters. Additionally, the president judge has responsibility over the Domestic Relations Sections, the Probation Offices, and the administrative staff of the Magisterial District Judge offices for both Elk and Cameron Counties.

The duties of the president judge, in addition to all of the above mentioned items, include administrative responsibilities and supervisory duties to assure case management and flow of cases, gathering and disseminating information to various sources throughout the Commonwealth, including the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, the Pennsylvania Commission of Sentencing, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, and Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

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