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Franklin prosecutor running for judge

January 06, 2009|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- Franklin County Assistant District Attorney Timothy D. Wilmot on Tuesday became the second person to declare his candidacy for one of two openings on the 39th Judicial District of the Court of Common Pleas.

Wilmot, 47, of Chambersburg, joins County Solicitor Shawn Meyers, who announced in November that he is running for the bench in the 39th District, which encompasses Franklin and Fulton counties.

"My goal in this campaign is simple: That the people of the community come to know who I am, what I value and what I have done that has prepared me to be a judge," Wilmot told a group of about 90 supporters in front of the Franklin County Courthouse. On Monday, he made his announcement in Fulton County, gaining an endorsement from state Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin/Cumberland.

An assistant district attorney since 1999, Wilmot said he has represented the state in more than 2,000 criminal proceedings and has been the Divorce Hearing Master for the district since 1996, presiding over more than 500 cases.

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"Criminal and family law matters consume about 85 percent of a Common Pleas judge's time. Therefore, it is very helpful for a candidate to have significant experience in both these areas," Wilmot said.

As the divorce master, Wilmot said he has had to conduct "the lengthy hearings involving all the economic aspects of divorce cases. In this judicial role, I have faced the challenge of remaining impartial while hearing cases."

A Republican, Wilmot was in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1983 to 1992, attaining the rank of captain and flying Sea Stallion helicopters. He received his law degree from the Dickinson School of Law in 1995.

One of nine children and the father of three, Wilmot said he is a family man dedicated to the community, having served with several nonprofit and charitable organizations, the Salem United Brethren Church and youth athletics.

"I've known Tim since he moved to Chambersburg and he's a man of integrity," Chambersburg School Board President Stanley Helman said Tuesday. "I thought for years that when a judgeship came up, he should run."

"I think he is a man of character and will make a big difference" said Dr. Al Madeira, who introduced Wilmot at the rally.

The 39th District will expand from four to five judges in 2010 and there is a vacancy now with the retirement of President Judge John R. Walker. In Pennsylvania judicial races, candidates can cross-file to run in both the Republican and Democratic primaries, something Wilmot said he will do.

"I'm sure there's going to be more than two candidates" in the May primary, Wilmot said.

In 2008, Common Pleas Court judges were paid $157,441, according to Art Heinz, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. A cost-of-living adjustment for 2009 is currently under review, he said.

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