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Washington County presently has two judges that regularly hear family law cases: Judge John DiSalle and Judge Phillippe Melograne.
Judge Melograne was appointed as an "interim" judge to fill a position left open following the tragic death of Judge Mark Mascara. But the primary election of May 17, 2011 means that Judge DiSalle will be joined by a new judge, following the upcoming general election. That new judge will likely be either Gary Gilman of North Strabane or Lance Turturice of South Strabane.
Mr. Gilman is running as the Democratic nominee and Mr. Turturice. is running as the Republican nominee. Common Pleas judges are elected to 10 year terms. They are elected to the Court itself and not to a particular specialty (family, civil, criminal etc.). Assuming that Washington County maintains 2 family law judges, at least one seat in that area will be open. Veteran judges from other areas rarely volunteer to transfer to family court, so it is likely that the newest family court judge will be Mr. Gilman or Mr. Tuturice.
Currently, Washington County divides family law cases alphabetically by last name, with A-M assigned to Judge DiSalle and N-Z assigned to Judge Melograne.
A master and hearing officer for the Allegheny County courts, Mr. Gilman is married to Washington County Common Pleas Judge Katherine Emery.
Mr. Turturice is best known as solicitor for several local governments.
We will have more on these two candidates in upcoming posts.