James Morgan wins city district judge seat


Running as a Democrat, James Morgan won the District court 19-1-02 bench, according to unofficial results announced Tuesday night.

Morgan, who said he has lived in York City for over 30 years, said Monday that he would be the first African American district judge to be elected in the county.

Chad Baker, Chair of the Democratic Party of York County, said Monday that he had asked veterans of the party to confirm or deny Morgan's claim, and that they had been "hard-pressed" to come up with any African Americans who had served in the office.

Inquiries to the communications department of the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts on this point went unanswered.

Morgan got nearly 56 percent of the vote, while opponent Kevin Titzell, who ran as a Republican, got 44 percent, according to the unofficial results.

Morgan, who lives in the Fireside neighborhood, will sit on the judicial bench in a district that covers his neighborhood, the Avenues neighborhood, and the Parkway neighborhood.

A former York City police officer and retired narcotics agent with the state attorney general's office, he has served two terms on the York City school board and has coached football and basketball.

"I've served this community for over 20 years and I want to continue to serve as district judge," he said on Monday. "I'm passionate about serving the city of York."

At the polls: Morgan's friend Karen Rascoe, voting at St. Matthew Lutheran Church on Market Street, said Morgan served as a mentor to her son.

"I believe he has the experience ... I hope he wins," she said.

Reactions: "It hasn't hit yet," Morgan said around 10 p.m. Tuesday. He said he was celebrating with friends and family at his home.

Asked what he will do as district judge, he said, "I'm passionate about making a difference with the kids. I'd like to be able to collaborate with community leaders and others in offices like mine to put something together to help the kids in this community because we're losing too many of our young kids to violent crime and jail."

"By working with youth," he said, "we can improve the quality of life for everyone in the city."

Kevin Titzell, who ran against Morgan, said he had "no regrets."

"I worked as hard as I could have (to win), that's for sure," he said.

A former probation officer, he quit his job in February so he could run for district judge.

"I've been in the criminal justice system since 2000," he said Monday. "I wanted to serve in this capacity to bring my knowledge of the criminal justice system."

"I wish (Morgan) the best and hope he does a good job serving the citizens of York," Titzell said.

Linda Williams won the race for the district court 19-1-01 bench uncontested with nearly 99 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results. Her district covers the southeast side of the city, she said Monday.

In this state, magisterial district judges preside over matters including traffic citations, non-traffic citations — which include charges such as disorderly conduct — landlord-tenant disputes, truancy issues and procedures similar to small-claims court.

They also arraign defendants on new criminal charges, set bail in those cases and preside over preliminary hearings to determine if enough evidence exists to forward charges to county court for trial.

— Reach Julia Scheib at