Senate Confirms Luzerne County Judicial Nominees Van Jura and Wetzel

Following approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senate today voted unanimously to confirm Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas judicial nominees Joseph Van Jura and Lewis Wetzel.

Senator Baker offered the following introduction on behalf of the nominees:

The citizens of Luzerne County appreciate the attention this committee is giving to helping fix our troubled local court system. The need for timely action on new judges for Luzerne County is thoroughly evident.

Thank you for the opportunity to say a few words on behalf of two distinguished and respected individuals, Lewis Wood Wetzel and Joseph Van Jura.

Governor Rendell has nominated two individuals with extensive experience, quality credentials, and the proper justice-first approach required during these unusual and unsettling times.

Each is committed to restoring the reputation of the Luzerne County court, rather than enhancing their personal reputation. Neither is positioning for a next life in electoral politics.

Theirs is not an easy assignment. Given the depth and breadth of the appalling wrongdoing revealed, community trust in the basic integrity and fairness of judges will be hard to reestablish.

Their willingness to serve is commendable; their enthusiasm for the undertaking is encouraging.

We have had an extremely painful reminder that the fair administration of justice is not a sure thing. Securing justice takes effort on the part of many, but it clearly depends most of all on ethical judges.

This committee, and ultimately the full Senate, has the chance to approve two well-qualified and highly-respected individuals. That approval stands as a fundamental building block of reform, key to restoration of order in our court.

Contact: Jennifer Wilson
(570) 675-3931

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