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Williams sworn in as magisterial judge

July 08, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - As his family and about 70 judges, attorneys and other court officials looked on Friday morning, Todd R. Williams took the oath of office to become Franklin County's seventh magisterial district judge.

Williams, 40, of Shippensburg, Pa., was nominated last month by Gov. Ed Rendell to fill out the unexpired term of Larry K. Meminger, who died in March 2005 at the age of 46. He was confirmed unanimously by the Pennsylvania Senate on June 19

"I'm looking forward to starting on Monday, and I understand I have some hearings scheduled for Monday afternoon," Williams said after being sworn in by Court of Common Pleas Judge Carol Van Horn.

"This is a happy day ... I think the festivities began last night. I'm not sure they've ended," Van Horn said before the swearing in, referring to a bash District Attorney John F. Nelson hosted Thursday for Williams.

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The Franklin County Bar Association hosted a breakfast reception for Williams in the Jury Assembly Room prior to the ceremony in Courtroom One.

Williams was the longest-serving full-time assistant district attorney for the county, with 13 years of experience. His departure comes as another assistant district attorney, Matt Fogal, returned recently from a tour of duty as a member of the Army National Guard in Afghanistan.

After the ceremony, Williams returned to his former office to say goodbye, and his wife, Lisa, gave him an assist as he donned a judicial robe for the first time.

Williams now is the magisterial district judge for District 39-3-04, which includes the portion of Shippensburg in Franklin County, as well as the borough of Orrstown, and Greene and Southampton townships. The position pays $66,998 this year, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

"I think it's a shame we had to wait this long," Magisterial District Justice Larry Pentz of Waynesboro, Pa., said of the 15 months it took to fill the vacancy. Senior magisterial district judges were brought in to work in the Scotland, Pa., office after Meminger's death, but the other six judges filled in for central court and on-call duties during that time, Pentz said.

Williams, a Republican, will have to run for election to the office next year when Meminger's six-year term expires.

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