The following editorial was submitted to Patch by Frank S. Burstein.
LIMERICK, PA — On Tuesday May 16th, voters of both the Democratic and Republican parties, will have the opportunity to select the most qualified individual to replace Judge Walter Gadzicki at the end of the year as our local District Justice. Judge Gadzicki will be retiring after 36 years on the bench, representing the residents of Limerick Township, Royersford Borough & Upper Providence Township (excluding the Oaks section).
The Magisterial District Court is the initial level of the judicial system in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is the Court where most people experience the judicial system for the first time. The types of trials that are handled in the Magisterial District Court include traffic violation appeals, minor criminal cases, civil cases involving amounts in dispute of up to $12,000.00 and preliminary hearings in felony criminal cases to determine whether such cases should be dismissed or proceed to the Court of Common Pleas for trial. The District Justice also decide what amount of bail is required in criminal cases to insure the appearance of defendants at trial.
I firmly believe that our local residents should know the professional qualifications of each of the candidates running as well as the purpose of our Magisterial District Court. That being said, it is important to know that Rich Welsh is the ONLY law school graduate running on the ballot, as two of his three opponents are long-term police officers and the other is a plumber.
After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from The American University in Washington, DC in 1990 and his Juris Doctorate from The Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, PA in 1996, Rich served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office under the Honorable Lynn Abraham from 1996-2000. During his time at the Philadelphia DA’s office, Rich personally prosecuted hundreds of misdemeanor and felony bench and jury trials, culminating in a promotion to the Office’s Major Crimes Unit.
In 2000, Rich made the difficult decision to leave the Philadelphia DA’s Office to start a 9-year civil law practice in Montgomery County; first with the law firm of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin Maxwell & Lupin in Blue Bell, PA where he focused his practice on real estate and municipal law matters and then with the Law Offices of Robert A. Stutman, P.C. in Fort Washington PA, where he returned to courtroom as a civil trial attorney involved in the litigation of complex products liability and negligence cases.
In February of 2009, Rich left the active practice of law to open Barrister’s Bagel Co. in Royersford and has had the opportunity to employ numerous local residents over the past 8 years. A primary factor in his decision to transition from the active practice of law to owning and running a small local business was to become more involved with his two children, Delaney (11) and Braden(9) and their interests. To that end, for the past 6 years, Rich has volunteered to coach youth sports all year round, including Spring-Ford youth baseball, football, basketball and lacrosse.
The combination of Rich’s educational background and professional experience as a prosecutor, civil law attorney, and small business owner, makes him uniquely qualified to assume the position of District Justice and his dedication to our community and background in the law will permit him to uphold the high standards required by the office of the Magisterial District Justice.
The position of Magisterial District Justice, just like the races for School Board are supposed to be non-partisan positions, which is why candidates may appear on both party’s ballots in the primary election. Rich’s educational background and his professional and legal experience, unquestionably makes him the most qualified of the four candidates to serve as our Magisterial District Justice.
Primary Election Day is Tuesday May 16th and the polls are open from 7am-8pm. Please take the time to cast your ballot and vote.