Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Third Bid for District Magistrate Announced

Lance Wheeler, a local Pennsylvania State Constable for the Northampton County Sheriff's office, announced Tuesday at a press conference in front of his West Ward home that he will run for the open district magistrate position left vacant last month by the sudden death of Judge Gay Elwell.

Wheeler said that working in the district courts of Northampton and Lehigh counties provides him with first-hand knowledge of the mechanics of civil and criminal procedures, and that living in the most densely populated part of the City of Easton places him in the middle of the issues a district judge will face daily, from traffic violations to truancy, homicides to domestic violence and landlord to tenant disputes.

"As a constable I am familiar with the mechanics of the system and the necessity of discerning through the facts with impartiality," said Mr. Wheeler. He added his experiences have prepared him "to discern through the facts with impartiality and wisdom."

A registered Democrat, he will be cross-filing on the spring primary ballot he said.

Wheeler is the third declared candidate in the likely magistrate election for District Court 03-2-05, which covers the Downtown and College Hill districts of Easton, along with part of the West Ward.

Sharbel Koorie, another West Ward resident and City of Easton code enforcement officer announced his intention to run in late December, and Antonia Grifo, a Downtown city attorney, announced last week she too will run in the expected election for the vacant seat.

Two other candidates, attorney Tim Prendergast and Easton City Controller Tony Bassil, also seem likely to vie for the judgeship, but neither have yet made official announcements.

It is still possible that Governor Tom Corbett might appoint someone to fill the vacant seat, but this seems unlikely. Any gubernatorial appointment would have to be approved by the state senate as well.

Update, Thursday, January 17, 10:00 p.m.: Magisterial District Judge candidate Lance Wheeler has posted a Facebook page entitled "Elect Lance Wheeler". Listed are a number of public events in coming months where members of the public can meet and chat with him


  1. Lance has what it takes to make fair, empathetic decision and, at the same time, not let the docket get backed up at the busiest district court in the county. There's a steep learning curve for this position and he's been involved with the criminal and civil side of the MDJ offices for the past 15 years.

    Whoever gets this position will have to hit the ground running. Lance is the best positioned candidate to do that.

    1. Thanks Christina for posting this.

      And Amen to 4:33 PM's post! If anyone can locate his mailing address, can you tell him to post it somehow? I want to donate to his cause/campaign, but I don't know how. Thanks!

    2. He has a facebook page, whoever is running that must know.

  2. I don't have facebook. I am still just learning this internet thing. If anyone finds out his mailing address, please figure out a way to post it. I would surely consider donating to his candidacy. Thanks!

    1. The Facebook page is viewable even if you aren't a Facebook member.

      We generally don't publish people's home addresses for safety reasons.

      The FB page lists a number of places Lance Wheeler will be doing public meet-and-greet events in the near future. Failing all else, attending one seems like a good way to get in touch with him.

  3. checks can be mailed to the campaign headquarters at 680 Wolf Ave., Easton, Pa 18042. Please make checks payable to "Friends of Lance Wheeler