Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts

Piles Of Records And Months Of Reporting Lead To Eye-Opening Report On PA District Judges

Dec 10, 2020
Dan Gleiter / PennLive

Magisterial district judges are the gatekeepers of Pennsylvania’s legal system.

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

This week, 38 new trial judges in Pennsylvania are taking a key step on their way to the bench. As required by court rules, they have convened at Penn State University to complete a seven-day course of study designed specifically for first-time trial judges, often called “new judge school.”

Tight state and local budgets have forced many states to close their courthouses or reduce operating hours, but in Pennsylvania, a number of austerity measures have staved off closures.
Lynn Marks, a court reform advocate, said it’s no small feat that Pennsylvania’s judicial system has weathered a recession without closures.

"Court funding is really a tricky issue," Marks said. "I mean, no one really thinks about the courts until they need them but when you have a case involving your family or your livelihood you know you want courts to be open and available.