Rosini picked for judge spot, sees it as final public position
SUNBURY - Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Rosini has been nominated to become the county's third judge, filling the position left vacant when Judge Robert B. Sacavage retired in January.
The DA said Friday, should he receive the expected approval by the state Senate, the next 18 months on the bench will mark the end to a career in public service that has spanned more than 30 years.
"I think this will be a fitting way to go out," Rosini, 64, said Friday. "I'm not going to run for judge in the next election."
That means Rosini would step away after filling Sacavage's term, which expires in December 2015.
Rosini said he was approached by the governor's office about filling the seat and learned Thursday Gov. Tom Corbett submitted his name to the Senate.
A statement from Corbett issued at 1 p.m. Friday included Rosini among 14 judicial appointments.
"I understand the importance of an efficient judicial system," Corbett said. "I am confident that these nominees will serve the commonwealth with honor and distinction."
State Sen. John Gordner, R-27, said he knows the governor was happy to make this appointment.
"There has always been a great deal of mutual respect between Tony and the governor, going back to the day when Corbett was state attorney general," Gordner said.
Rosini said he is humbled by the support for his nomination.
"I'm very grateful to Gov. Corbett for appointing me to this position and thankful for the support and the work that Sen. Gordner has done on my nomination," he said.
Gordner said he had two stipulations about the appointment.
"I told (Corbett) that a candidate I would support should meet two requirements. One, they had to pick someone that had the experience for the post and could begin immediately. Two, I wouldn't support someone who would run for re-election. The voters of Northumberland County should have the say as to who will be the judge in that seat for the full term," Gordner said.
Rosini has served as district attorney since 1995 and was first assistant district attorney for 12 years prior to that, serving under Sacavage.
As it is, Rosini couldn't run for election to a 10-year judicial term because he'll be 66 in December 2015 and judges must retire at 67.
President Judge William H. Wiest has also announced he will retire at the end of his term in 2015, leaving two spots open in Northumberland County Court.
Wiest said he's pleased to see the opening filled and that Rosini has been nominated to do so.
"I am very happy to hear he will be coming aboard. I'm sure he's going to do a great job," Wiest said. "He knows the system very well and will adapt very easily."
Wiest said having three full-time judges will help clear a growing caseload.
"Having a senior judge working 10 days a month is good, but a full-time judge is better," Wiest said. "I know he will work well with me and Judge (Charles) Saylor."
Rosini filed financial and ethics paperwork with the state Friday. Ten calendar days after that, the Senate can vote. That's expected June 30 or July 1, since the Senate will be in session those days, Gordner said.
After some more paperwork on Rosini's part, he could be on the bench as early as mid-July.
This would be the second appointment in the last few months the state Senate has made for Northumberland County. Robert Wolfe was approved as the new sheriff to replace Chad Reiner, who resigned.
Unlike a majority vote for sheriff, Rosini's judicial appointment will required a two-thirds approval in the Senate.
"We have many bipartisan talks about these appointees and these nominees have been agreed to by the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Democratic Leader - so there should be no problem," Gordner said. "Tony is certainly very well qualified and a great individual."
Rosini said he'll take a similar approach from the bench in dispensing the law.
"It is my goal as a judge that I will be fair and impartial and make sure that every defendant is treated with the respect they deserve and receives the justice that the law provides," he said.