South Strabane Township attorney Lane Turturice Tuesday joined the growing list of candidates seeking election to one of two vacant seats on Court of Common Pleas of Washington County.
This will be Turturice’s second attempt at securing a judicial seat. The 39-year-old California native ran in 2011 for the seat left open by the death of Judge Mark Mascara.
“Two years ago, in my first run for judge, I traveled Washington County and had the opportunity to talk with thousands of citizens to learn about the issues that are most important to them,” he said. “Based on my conversations with them, Washington County wants a judge that has the courage to protect our individual freedoms and liberties and who is committed to preserving, protecting and keeping our families safe.”
Turturice lost that election by a slim margin to Judge Gary Gilman.
This year’s election will fill the seats left vacant by the retirements of judges Janet Moschetta Bell and Paul Pozonsky.
“Washington County is dealing with a judicial crisis with the loss of two of its judges who both together handled civil, criminal and juvenile cases,” Turturice said. “So, the next judge must possess a diverse background of legal experience in order to immediately begin tackling the expected backlog of cases.”
Turturice began his legal career as an associate with the firm Bassi, McCune and Vreeland. He then served as a Washington County assistant district attorney for more than five years, during which he said he handled numerous jury and nonjury trials as well as having prosecuted thousands of criminal cases and administered the county’s fast track program.
“One of the most important and rewarding duties I had as an ADA was as a child advocate and juvenile prosecutor,” he stated. “I have always had a heart for children, and I intend to carry that with me onto the bench and will do whatever is legally permissible to protect the health and safety of children and their families.”
For the past eight years, Turturice has maintained a private practice with his partner, Tim Berggren. He currently serves as legal counsel to more than 14 municipal entities including the city of Washington, the Greene County Housing Authority and Bethlehem-Center School District.
Turturice is a member of the Washington County Bar Association, having served on its executive committee, as president of the Young Lawyers Division and Zone 6 chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. He is past chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association House of Delegates; founding member and past chair of the Juvenile Law Section of the Washington County Bar Association; a high school mock trial team coach; and participant in the Washington County Bar Association’s Pro Bono Project. In 2005, the Washington Rotary Club awarded him the Club Service Award.
“I am not part of the political establishment or machine politics,” he stated. “As a judge, I will be completely free of political and personal influences.”
Although a registered Republican, Turturice said he will cross-file in the primary election. Other candidates include Valarie Costanzo, Blane Black, Peter Marcoline and Michael Lucas.
Turturice and his wife are the parents of four children.