Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Justice

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.