York County's newest judges sworn in

Greg Gross, 505-5433/@ggrossyd

York County's two newest Court of Common Pleas judges were sworn in Tuesday, minus the standard pomp and circumstance.

York City attorney Kathleen Prendergast, 53, and federal prosecutor Christy Fawcett, 63, took the oath of office during a private ceremony, but a formal swearing-in ceremony is slated for Wednesday, July 20, at the judicial center, said President Judge Joseph C. Adams.

The county judicial system has long dealt with the vacancies that created more work for sitting judges. The appointments of Fawcett and Prendergast will alleviate the larger-than-normal caseload.

Kathleen Prendergast

"It gives everybody a better ability to process cases," Adams said. "It definitely feels good." 

Prendergast, who heard cases Tuesday, will serve in family court, while Fawcett, who has experience in criminal law, will sit on the criminal bench. 

"I jumped right in," Prendergast.

Prendergast and Fawcett were confirmed last week by the state Senate to fill two vacancies on the bench. 

Vacancies:York County's vacancies occurred when former judges Thomas H. Kelley VI and John W. Thompson Jr. retired last year. 

Christy Fawcett

Another temporary vacancy exists because Judge Craig T. Trebilcock is on active duty with the U.S. Army this year. Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh intends to retire after Trebilcock returns from military service, which will create another vacancy on the bench.

"That's definitely better than being down two" judges, Adams said. 

In March, Gov. Tom Wolf put out an open call for applicants to come forward to fill the state's 30 open seats on counties’ Court of Common Pleas, magisterial district courts, state Supreme Court, state Superior Court and state Commonwealth Court.

Prendergast and Fawcett were selected after a regional advisory commission reviewed qualifications of all the candidates and presented their findings to Wolf, a Democrat from York County.

— Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @ggrossyd.