Correale Stevens of the Hazleton area became a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice yesterday. He was nominated by the governor, and confirmed by the senate, to fill a vacancy left by a resignation.
We go back a long way. I wouldn't go so far as to say we're friends, but Stevens and have swapped occasional e-mails over the years. I first met him when he was a state representative. He probably could have had the gig for life, but Stevens ran for, and was elected Luzerne County district attorney. That's when I dealt with him on an almost daily basis.
It felt like there was a major trial, or big crime just about every day. You have to remember the time-- mid and late 80's. Kevin Jordan, Mark Davis, and Rich Noonan were the TV reporters on the Luzerne County beat at the time. There were two strong newspapers, and me-- a radio pup. Newspapers carried a lot of weight. There were three TV news operations in town at the time, and it was extremely competitive. I don't think Luzerne County has ever been covered better. Stevens treated me as an equal-- on par with the other guys, and I appreciated that.
He took over an office in disarray. Stevens D.A. predecessor didn't exactly set the world on fire. Some cases were bungled. While Correale Stevens didn't spend a lot of time in the courtroom, he succeeded by being a good administrator and getting the office under control. He was smart enough to hire a wily old assistant, and some aggressive young lawyers to keep the place running.
After leaving the district attorney's office, Correale Stevens was a county judge, then a superior court justice. Now, it's the highest state court.
Congratulations, and good luck.