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Assistant DA is confirmed as Franklin Co. magistrate

June 20, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Pennsylvania Senate Monday evening unanimously confirmed Franklin County Chief Deputy Assistant District Attorney Todd R. Williams to fill the vacancy created last year by the death of Magisterial District Judge Larry Meminger.

"I'm thrilled that the confirmation process went so quickly and I'm looking forward to being sworn in and taking office," Williams said Monday while on vacation in New Jersey. The commission for his office could come through by Friday, but Williams said a swearing-in ceremony will probably not occur until Friday, July 7, a few days after he returns to work.

Meminger died March 30, 2005, at his home, at the age of 46. He had served as the magisterial district judge for District 39-3-04 since 1984 and was elected to the post four times.

District 39-3-04 includes Greene and Southampton townships, the borough of Orrstown and the Franklin County portion of the borough of Shippensburg. It is one of seven magisterial districts in the county.

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Williams, 40, of Shippensburg, Pa., has been an assistant district attorney for the county for 13 years. A 1992 graduate of Dickinson School of Law, he is the longest-serving full-time assistant in the District Attorney's Office.

Following Meminger's death, state Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin/Adams/York, supported Meminger's widow, Kindra, for the position, but she withdrew her name from consideration last fall. Punt then put his support behind Williams.

It was earlier this month that Gov. Ed Rendell nominated Williams to fill the post. A simple majority of the Republican-controlled Senate was needed for him to be confirmed, according to a spokesman for the governor.

"It's been a long wait, because the senator submitted his name in November," Magisterial District Judge Larry Pentz said Monday. Pentz and the other judges were, he said, "baffled" by the delay in getting Williams' name before the Senate.

Pentz said he was "extremely happy" Williams was confirmed, "and I think I'm speaking for everyone."

Since Meminger's death, two retired senior magisterial district judges have worked in the district's Scotland, Pa., office. The other six judges have been covering on-call and Central Court duties for that office, Pentz said.

The unexpired portion of Meminger's term in office expires at the end of 2007 and Williams said he will have to run for office next year.

Magisterial District Judges are paid $66,998 this year, according to the Administrative Offices of Pennsylvania Courts.

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