Magisterial districts will be shifting Aug. 1

Pleasant Township is heading west.

As part of statewide realignments of magisterial judicial districts, Pleasant Township will be transferred from magisterial district 37-2-01, the office of Judge Glenn Carlson in Warren, to district 37-4-01, the office of Judge Cynthia Lindemuth in Youngsville, effective Aug. 1.

According to a Supreme Court of Pennsylvania press release dated Feb. 27, the state began issuing orders, “that re-shape magisterial district court boundaries statewide to adapt to changing resources and demographics in the commonwealth,” at that time.

The realignment process occurs every ten years following the most recent census.

According to the release, “An overarching theme in the process was the Supreme Court’s desire to ‘right size’ the number of magisterial district court judgeships statewide largely through the elimination of existing vacancies or posts scheduled to be unfilled through retirement.”

Orders are based on the recommendation of individual judicial districts, in the case of Warren County the Court of Common Pleas of the 37th Judicial District under President Judge Maureen Skerda.

“Criteria were provided to each county to develop plans that would help achieve a reduction in the commonwealth’s complement of more than 500 district judges,” the release continued.

The Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System, in its annual “State of the Commonwealth Courts” report, cites 30 magisterial district judge seats to be eliminated through the “right sizing” process for a savings of $4.5 million.

A May 1 press release from Skerda’s office announced the transfer and cited, “an effort to achieve caseload equity,” as the motivating factor for the move.

“This is just to have each office handling equal caseloads,” Lindemuth said. “This is being done statewide.”

While Lindemuth’s office in Tidioute is no longer open, the move does ensure the district office currently located in Youngsville will remain open through this round of realignments.

“I think it was a good move that kept Judge Lindemuth’s office open,” Carlson said. “I hope it doesn’t cause any inconvenience to the people of Pleasant Township. It shouldn’t be an inconvenience to law enforcement. It might be a little more travel time for people in Pleasant Township to go to Youngsville.”

The state is approving orders on a “rolling” basis with the first orders being issued in January. Some orders may take up to six years to take effect.

The magisterial districts within the 37th Judicial District will serve the following communities following the Aug. 1 realignment:

37-2-01 Judge Glenn Carlson: City of Warren plus Cherry Grove and Sheffield townships.

37-3-01 Judge Laura Bauer: Clarendon and Sugar Grove boroughs plus Conewango, Elk, Farmington, Glade, Mead, Pine Grove and Sugar Grove townships.

37-4-01 Judge Cynthia Lindemuth: Bear Lake, Tidioute and Youngsville boroughs plus Brokenstraw, Columbus, Deerfield, Eldred, Freehold, Limestone, Pittsfield, Pleasant, Southwest, Spring Creek, Triumph and Watson townships.

37-4-03 Judge George Gregory: Forest County Tionesta Borough plus Barnett, Green, Harmony, Hickory, Howe, Jenks, Kingsley and Tionesta townships.