New Castle News

Local News

February 17, 2007

District Judge J.V. Lamb retires

District Judge J.V. Lamb put away his gavel and permanently hung up his robe at 4 p.m. yesterday.

Lamb said he officially is retired.

The announcement that the 64-year-old has called it quits came as a surprise to local court and law enforcement officials yesterday.

But Lamb just didn’t share the news until then. He said he had been contemplating the decision for about a year, saying there were many reasons.

He has served as a district judge in Lawrence County for 20 years.

“It’s time,” he said yesterday, adding, “I’ll be going back to Lamb’s Hill” — his farm in the Enon Valley area.

Marlene V. Gabriel, Lawrence County’s director of elections, said it is too late for his position, magisterial district judge of 53-3-02, to be placed on this year’s ballot to choose a successor.

Someone will be elected to the position in 2009, she said.

According to Lamb, a senior district judge will fulfill his duties, with the exception of Lawrence County Central Court.

The county has one retired district judge, who is Samuel Battaglia in Ellwood City. He could temporarily assume Lamb’s duties, but would first have to be approved by the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts.

Central Court responsibilities will be shared by the other four district judges — Melissa Amodie, David Rishel, James B. Reed and Jerry Cartwright.

Meanwhile, “local powers that be” will send names of recommendation to the governor, who eventually will appoint someone to his bench, Lamb said. That appointment then must be approved by the state Senate.

Lamb’s announcement came a day after the commissioners entered a six-year lease for his office, which is at 605 Mount Jackson Road in North Beaver Township.

The county rents space for offices for Reed, Rishel and Lamb. Amodie’s office is in the Lawrence County Government Center, and Cartwright’s is in a county-owned building in Ellwood City.

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