Judicial system needs support

  • December 22, 2012

I must respectfully disagree with attorney Chuck Kurowski’s letter that appeared Dec. 17 on the state of Washington County’s judicial system.

As a lawyer who has the same opportunity to observe as Kurowski, my view is that the citizens of Washington County are well served by their elected judges, both past and present. They work long hours to adjudicate difficult issues with fairness and judicial decorum. The recent depletion in their ranks, due to the retirement of two judges, will only exacerbate the conditions the four remaining judges will face in keeping up with the caseload until elections are held later next year.

Most of my legal career was centered in Allegheny County. I can state without qualification that even at full staff, judging in Washington County requires more work and a broader knowledge of the law, with fewer resources.

Kurowski should recall the privileges and obligations that come with being a member of the legal profession. One obligation is to take positive steps to make sure the judicial process runs smoothly and fairly. Lawyers should be lining up to volunteer mediation, arbitration and other diversionary services to help the judicial system during this difficult time.

Taking shots at individual judges, who often cannot defend themselves because of ethical considerations, is unwarranted. There are well-established channels for reporting alleged judicial disciplinary concerns that for obvious reasons do not include the local newspaper. If Kurowski’s comments are sour grapes for losing past judicial elections or an opening salvo for the next judicial election, my disagreement with his position would in fact be disdain.

Gary Stout



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