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New district justice should help reduce caseloads

October 24, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A year after District Justice Larry Pentz was elected to take over the Waynesboro office in 1987, the office averaged about 2,800 cases a year.

This year the number will exceed 5,000 cases, Pentz said.

The office handles cases from the boroughs of Waynesboro and Mont Alto, Pa., and Quincy and Washington townships.

Franklin County added a seventh district justice to handle a growing caseload this year.

The new district justice will move into the office on Franklin Farm Lane in Chambersburg, Pa., now occupied by District Justice Larry Meminger. Meminger will move into new quarters being prepared in the Greene Township office building in Scotland, Pa., Pentz said.

Two candidates are running for the seventh seat in November - Democrat Douglas Furness of Fayetteville, Pa., and Republican Kelly Rock of Mont Alto.

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Starting in January, cases from Guilford Township, now handled by Meminger, and those from Quincy Township and Mont Alto will shift to the new office.

A district justice's court is the first stop in Pennsylvania's legal system. District justices arraign criminal defendants, set bond and conduct preliminary hearings. They also hear nonjury civil and criminal cases of lesser degree.

Pentz said the move won't make a big dent in his caseload. "It might be cut by 500 to 750 cases a year," he said.

Meminger's new caseload map will include Greene and South Hampton townships, the part of Shippensburg, Pa,. that lies in Franklin County, and the Borough of Orrstown, Pa.

District Justice Gary Carter, whose office is in the Franklin County Courthouse Administrative Annex on North Second Street, will also see a shift in caseloads.

Carter, who will end up hearing only cases from the Borough of Chambersburg, will lose Hamilton Township.

The office in Pleasant Hall, Pa., in northwestern Franklin County will handle cases from Hamilton, Fannett, Metal, Lurgan and Letterkenny townships.

District Justice John Weyman runs the Pleasant Hall office. He lost his seat in the May primary to Richard Alloway. Alloway, who is unopposed Nov. 4, will be sworn in in January.

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