To the editor:
After carefully reading and considering the positions of the candidates for the judgeship to the Court of Common Pleas, I cannot help but conclude that Judge Searer's challenger is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the voters of Mifflin County.
Consider first that he places most of his hope in winning the election on the notion of "term limits." Listening to him one would conclude that there is nothing approaching term limits for judges currently in place, but that is simply not true. In Pennsylvania a judge is required to retire once he/she reaches the age of 70. Unlike federal courts our local judges are not put on the bench for life. Rather, by allowing a judge to serve more than one term, the community benefits from being allowed to re-elect a judge who has served the community well but at the same time the law provides a mandatory retirement age. His strong stance in favor of term limits is simply a way to take a stand on something other than the merits of his own qualifications versus those of Judge Searer.
I cannot find any evidence that the challenger has addressed the significant differences between his and Judge Searer's courtroom and judicial experience. Judge Searer has a proven track record both as District Attorney and President Judge of hard work, efficiency and fairness that has earned him the respect of lawyers as well as private citizens appearing before him daily. Appellate courts have commented in their opinions about the thorough manner in which he has analyzed and disposed of cases.
We need to keep in mind that the winner of this election will be our President Judge for the next 10 years and will be responsible for the management of the entire judicial branch of county government. This means that in addition to deciding cases in the courtroom, the President Judge must also manage the budget and human resource needs of not just the Court of Common Pleas, but the three magisterial district judge offices as well as the Office of Probation and Parole and the Domestic Relations Office. There are approximately 50 employees who rely upon the President Judge's wisdom and direction to ensure these offices operate smoothly and within their budgets.
While Judge Searer has carried out these administrative duties without a hitch for many years, his opponent offers absolutely no evidence that he has the experience, practical or otherwise, to handle these administrative tasks and manage a budget of about $3 million.
History clearly favors Judge Searer. He has been nominated by both Republicans and Democrats on two occasions and twice elected President Judge by all voters to this non-partisan position. He has a record of judicial experience and demonstrated ability which has not been challenged. There has been no credible reason advanced by his challenger for the voters of Mifflin County not to re-elect Judge Searer as President Judge.