Six new judges donned black robes today as they were sworn in before a packed crowd of friends and family members in Lancaster County's ceremonial courtroom.

"You have the opportunity to place your own indelible mark on the Lancaster County judicial system," President Judge Louis J. Farina told the new judges before administering the oath.

The new judges were introduced to the court individually by colleagues and then helped by one of the veteran judges to don the black judicial robes before they took a seat in the front of the courtroom.

The order of introduction was as follows:

Donald R. Totaro was presented by his friend, state Rep. Katie True, and assisted in the robing by Judge Henry S. Kenderdine. Both men served as the county's district attorney.

Howard F. Knisely was presented by his longtime law partner, Alan Goldberg, and assisted in the robing by Judge David R. Workman.

Jeffery D. Wright was presented by attorney Michael Wagman and assisted in the robing by Judge David L. Ashworth.

Margaret C. Miller was presented by attorney Craig V. Russell and assisted in the robing by Farina.

Christopher A. Hackman was presented by attorney Jeff Conrad and assisted in the robing by Judge Joseph C. Madenspacher.

Jeffrey J. Reich was presented by attorney Joseph F. Roda and assisted in the robing by Judge Jay J. Hoberg.Before administering the oath of office to the six new judges, Farina administered the oath to Judge Leslie Gorbey, who was retained for a second 10-year term.

Also attending today's ceremony were the other members of the court, including Judges James P. Cullen and Dennis E. Reinaker.

Farina noted that the total number of judges on the bench, now at 15, is the largest it has ever been in Lancaster County. It's a difficult job, Farina told the new judges, but a satisfying one.

The six new judges, all Republicans, bring a mixture of criminal, civil, municipal and family law experience to the bench.

Totaro and Hackman have spent most of their careers with the District Attorney's Office prosecuting criminal cases.

Totaro follows a long line of former district attorneys who have joined the bench, including his two immediate predecessors, Kenderdine and Madenspacher.

Knisely also has focused on criminal defense law, including juvenile cases. Reich's focus has been civil, estate and contract law; Miller has worked in municipal and civil law; and Wright has worked in arbitration and civil law.

The six openings on the bench are the result of four retirements and two new seats added by the state Legislature. Each judge earns an annual salary of $152,115 and serves a 10-year term.

After the swearing in of the county court judges, Farina gave the oath to the two new magisterial district court judges.

Janice Jimenez will preside over the northeast section of the city, and Tom Fee will serve as district judge in the Manheim area.

The newly elected county commissioners as well as row officers, including new District Attorney Craig Stedman, were to be sworn in during an afternoon session.

CONTACT US: jkelley@LNPnews.com or 481-6026

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