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McClain anxious to begin role as district magistrate

by on November 09, 2017 7:14 AM

STATE COLLEGE — Casey McClain won the Nov. 7 election for magisterial judge in the once-vacant 49-02-01 district in Ferguson Township.

The Democrat’s six-year term comes after a defeat of former State College police officer Dave White, running as a Republican, with 4,791 votes for McClain and 3,050 for White.
McClain was previously an assistant public defender with 14 years of trial experience. He graduated from Penn State in 1999 and Pittsburgh Law in 2002.

The post has been vacant since the resignation of Leslie Dutchcot in November 2015. The office at 1524 W. College Ave. serves the north and west voting districts in College Township as well as Ferguson, Halfmoon and Patton townships.
McClain said after his victory he wanted to get up and running as soon as possible.

“One couple shook my hand after voting and said ‘We are proud of you, be great,’” McClain wrote to The Gazette. “Winning gives me the opportunity to live up to lofty expectations and continue to earn your trust. Immediately I want to get our office up to me being a full-time available judge. I’ve met with the wonderful staff a few times and will rely on them to get me familiar to a new office and new system. Small steps at first, but important ones. To the voters, your voice counted. Braving the cold and snow because you wanted to be heard ... we all thank you. I am humbled by the support I received and I will continue to work hard for our community.”

The 49-02-01 district is one of 544 in Pennsylvania. They are among the minor courts in the state, tasked with handling civil cases up to $12,000, minor criminal offenses and marriage ceremonies. They are the first stop for the accused in more serious crimes. For years, they were known as justices of the peace.

McClain said his years of jury trials honed his legal skills and developed his knowledge of rules of evidence and procedure. He is also an adjunct professor at Penn State law.

“In short, I offer both a distinguished legal career and a reputation built on honesty, level-headedness and earned respect within the legal field,” he wrote to The Gazette in October. “These are the best qualities our community deserves.”

Though McClain won by more than 1,700 votes, White did take Ferguson North 1 by 19 votes and Ferguson West by 33 votes. In only one instance did a candidate receiver more than 500 votes in any precinct.

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