The holidays are over and county government will soon be throttling back up to full gear. In the meantime, here are some random entries from my notebook to hold you over:

President Judge John McBride Stepping Down

According to courthouse officials, President Judge John McBride is going to be stepping down as President Judge (or to be more precise, has probably already stepped by the time you are reading this).

McBride is handing the reins of the Beaver County Courts over to Judge Rick Mancini (next in seniority), who will now assume all of the “Presidential” functions previously handled by McBride (such as randomly recusing the entire bench from hearing cases, or not, depending on his mood).

Judge McBride will finish out 2017 on the bench as a second stringer before retiring.


Judicial Wisdomness

Speaking of Judge McBride, the outgoing President Judge is now acting as a reference for controversial former Beaver County Sheriff’s Deputy Randy Tallon.

Beaver County Behavioral Health Administrator Gerard Mike is seeking to appoint Tallon to a seat on his department’s advisory board and McBride is listed as one of the man’s references.

Randy Tallon’s appointment to the advisory board still has to be approved by the Beaver County Board of Commissioners.

(Tallon was just recently listed as one of the defense witnesses for Sheriff Tony Guy and the County of Beaver in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by former deputy Curtis Larrick.)


Court Administrator In Waiting

Courthouse sources tell me that Judge Mancini will likely be using his capacity as President Judge to appoint his law clerk Garrett Harper to act as Court Administrator when the time comes.

(Court Administrator Rich DeFilippi has been out of work due to a serious illness and sources tell me he is not expected to return before his retirement.)


Judge Debbie To Seek A Bigger Bench

While Judge McBride is stepping down, Beaver County Judge Deborah Kunselman is hoping to step up! County politicos tell me that “Judge Debbie” is going to be making a run for Superior Court Judge.

Judge Kunselman (who won retention last year) has been talking about running for years and it seems she thinks the time is now right.


Here Comes The Judges

Let the preordaining begin!

Beaver Countians will be seeing two open seats for Common Pleas Judge on their ballots this year and so far there are only two attorneys who have been openly talking about seeking the seats.

Attorneys Mitchell Shahen and Deborah DeCostro are both expected to make the run, but if no one else steps up to the plate their “run” will be something more like a “leisurely stroll.” This may very well be yet another election cycle that leaves Beaver County voters with no choice for who will be judging them.

There are minor rumblings among politicos that one or more of the young generation of freshly minted attorneys might buck the system and seek a seat — decades before it’s “their turn” — but I won’t be holding my breath waiting to see if that happens.


David Lozier Has Visitors

Two men in suits showed up to the courthouse last week to visit with District Attorney David Lozier. Both of the men have badges but neither of the two men have ever been in the Beaver County Courthouse before. Although this was their first visit to the courthouse it won’t be their last.

(How was that for a cryptic teaser of coming attractions to end out the notebook and start off the new year?)


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John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

38 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t know anything about the judge matter, but would Gerald Benyo be eligible to be a judge candidate? That is, if he wanted to, and he would prefer that to running for DA in 3 years. He’s a good man, and he could do well inside the system. He’s an excellent criminal lawyer, and that might be his preference, though.

     
    • I like Jerry but I don’t think having a judge who has a wife in prison is a good idea and once she gets out the crazy shit with him will start back up again. He says he’s divorcing her but it won’t happen it’s a bad cycle we’ve all watched for years. Sad really.

       
      • I didn’t know that, Courthouse Concerns. Let’s hope things work out. I read about some of that in the past and thought it was over. It is sad, and maybe he can prevail. It doesn’t change my feelings about him, though. And no, I don’t know him personally, and I have never met him.

         
      • I would love to see Benyo bypass DA and run for Judge. His wife doesn’t have anything to do with him being a Judge or anything else.
        VOTE BENYO FOR DISTRICT ATTORNEY
        VOTE BENYO FOR JUDGE

         
      • FEB 21, 2012
        BEAVER (KDKA) — A Beaver County man accused of assaulting his 8-month-old baby will stand trial.
        Doctors say the little girl will have no chance at returning to a normal life.
        Brian Donavich is facing aggravated assault charges. He told authorities his daughter was unconscious and barely breathing after he dropped her on the floor while babysitting.
        “You may have observed in court, you may have seen that he was visibly shaken by this because of his long-standing position that it was an accident,” Mitchell Shahen, Donavich’s defense attorney, said.

         
      • Shame on you Courthouse Concerns, SHAME On YOU!
        I give Gerry Credit for standing by his wife and not taking the selfish quick way out – divorce (as you suggest) Remember the vows for better or WORSE? Sickness or health? Mrs Benyo is a GOOD person with a bad disease. Gerry shows he is a man of convictions by staying with her even when she is struggling with her disease. The problems she is dealing with has nothing to do with Gerry’s professional life and shame on you for spreading gossip and suggesting otherwise.

         
      • @John Q Taxpayer: What does Shanen defending someone in court have to do with anything? isn’t it his job as a defense attorney? Shanen was not accused of anything related to that story was he?

         
    • Thank you for the highest complimemt an attorney can receive Raven. I will admit i am tempted to run for Judge as i do not believe one of the stated candidates has the qualities i believe a jidge must possess to be effective for the citizens and taxpayers.

      But as others have pointed out my wife’s past history of alcohol and drug use and arrests work against me. I love her and have ultimate faith that she is now in the correct long-term program and has finally had a complete physical and mental.health evaluation that found previously misdiagnosed issues and removed her from all but 1 of the dozens of medicines local “mental health providers” were giving her by the bucket over the past decade. She has worked hard to be s better person and i do beliwve in her regardless of how it may damage me or make me look in anyome else’s eyes.

      I do believe i would have an unique perspective as a judge that would benefit Beaver County in the current heroin climate and most who read the BeaverCountian share my deep disrespect and anger towards those who misuse elective office or who use the power of government to enrich themselves or their families. If i were Judge those people will have spent their money well if they hired lawyers who were able to keep their cases from my courtroom. I do not fool easily.

      I would enjoy being a judge and would work to earn a reputation of being a fair, no nonsence jurist who protected taxpayers and citizens from government. But i do hesitate as my litigation with Treasurer Javens is not complete nor is my case with Officer Weimer-Reims. Beaver County needs the truth to come out in total in both cases. I also hesitate as i love what i do and that is help people every day. People accused of just living their lives and being caught up in am overly criminalized legalistic system where it has become almost impossible to break some criminal law every day even when your a law abiding citizen.

      And lastly, Raven, i hesitate because there have been no other Beaver County attorneys who have joined me publically in chastizing what has gone wrong in Beaver County Government. There were too many instances where it ended up my pro bono client and i in the room fighting a battle to save their future when the charges or investigation should never have been considered and the Beaver County system just didnt care about what I saw as the clear difference between right and wrong. Plenty of attorneys encouraged me in private and behind the scenes, just not publically and it is that public showing of what is right and wrong that dosappoints me most about my friends and collougues.

      I was “punished” by those in power in Beaver County and i fought for 18 months to clear my name while Mr. Martocci refused to answer any questions or give any explaination for his actions (the current Javens Defense) and everyone publically continues to accept this charade. I will never get any explanation from Mr. Martocci or his boss, Mr. Berosh, as to why they recommended and pushed the PA Attorney General (herself a disgrace to the legal profession) into filing felony criminal charges of wiretapping against me when, as Judge Ross quickly opined after allowing 2 days of hearings and allowing top experts from the Pa Crime Lab to testify, PA Supreme Court and US Supreme Court case law completely cleared me of any criminal wrongdoing. As reported by John Paul, Judge Ross was appealed and after several months, and without even a courtesy call, even the best and brightest PA Attorney General Appellate Attorneys couldnt argue what had been law for years in PA and the US – but yet i was still prosecuted in the finest of Beaver County traditions.

      I guess what im saying to you Raven is my role for now may just be to fight the figjts that no other lawyer in Beaver County will fight and expose corruption and stand up and protect those who cant always get a fair shake in the system. Agsin Raven thank you for your kind words.

       
  2. Men with badges is much better than Stonewall Lozier (Loser). Were the badges real or are they Sherriff’s in disguise to cover Stonewall’s ass? Probably just guys from the local mob dropping off the Christmas packages for the “boys & girls” of the court house who have been nice and let them slide on their taxes, gambling, drugs, etc. I hope the hell they are feds with broad subpoena powers to get a grand jury to clean out the stables. 1 year Stonewall has been chasing Connie (or not) and not a peep. How can you track a terrorist in Turkey and capture them and get all the evidence when one dunce in Beaver County can’t even make a statement whether he is actually doing anything? Cue the crickets! Connie’s New Years resolution is to play nice with everyone. (NOT!) She can get a job talking to the old folks on WMBA real soon. Soon as the feds swoop in. Take that turd Tom Davidson to the Ridge with you and let him write fairy tails for the elderly. W ain’t buying his bullshit or that of the pitiful BC Times. The question has been asked, how much does the county throw the BC Times way. Could this be why they refuse to investigate anything?

     
  3. JUDGE MANCINI, JUDGE MANCINI ? Hmmm, where have I heard this name ?
    Sheriff George David has hired Bryan Netherland, JUDGE MANCINI’s nephew, as a Sheriff’s Deputy. Netherland, a graduate of Blackhawk High School, has no prior law enforcement experience.

    Treasurer Javens has filed paperwork to name Cebran Netherland, nephew of Common Pleas JUDGE RICHARD MANCINI, as her new First Deputy. Netherland was was a DJ prior to being hired by Javens back in 2014 to fill a NEWLY CREATED ROLE of “Hotel Tax Collector.”

    JUDGE MANCINI’s sister-in-law, Kelly Wolf, works as a full-time tipstaff in his courtroom. Wolf is the mother of Bryan and Cebran Netherland.

    Court Administrator Rich DeFilippi It’s a nice perk to have health benefits, get well soon.

     
  4. Judge Mancini. A recurring name here and elsewhere. Appointments vs. nepotism? Well, it will make for some interesting reading here in the future.

     
  5. If he was endorsed by the Times readers, forget him! No one with any intelligence gets their news from the Times. The old folks with two first names in Aliquippa will vote for him. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer but useful to local business leaders (Bettors/Unis/??) to cover their asses. Tom Davidson for Pulitzer Prize in undercover journalism. (under cover, as in bed with local hacks).

     
  6. Deborah Decostro everyone knows she’s basically nuts which is why some of us are trying to get a couple of these young attorneys to run. They don’t have a lot of experience but some of them are intelligent and dedicated and could do a really good job.

    Here’s something to introduce you to Dipshit Decostro http://old.post-gazette.com/regionstate/19991215kolle2.asp

    JP’s been asking a lot of questions about her all over the courthouse and I saw he has a huge stack of folders with stuff about her from what I heard from people JP is worried about her becoming a judge.

     
    • This is good to hear I warned John Paul about DeCostro months ago when he told me he was starting to vet her.

       
    • I didn’t realize she was an adoption attorney. What a horrible manipulation of a circumstance. I was very glad to read the young mother got her child back, in 2000, and was allowed, in 2003, to proceed in a civil action against the Decastros. I couldn’t find any results from that suit. I’m guessing settled out-of-court.

       
  7. She sounds like a perfect fit in Beaver County Court House! F-ck the law, we make our own law here! Me & my judge buddies. More corruption and ineptitude in our future. Jesus Christ, is this really what we’re down to in Beaver County? This circus will not end until some higher authority cleans it up. It will not come from the state, they are just as bad. Why is Jimmy C not presenting a case to have the Queen removed form office for her misdemeanors and other illegal practices? Does he not represent part of this county. What about you, Matzie? I guess you got relatives in the friends and family pool also at the BC Outhouse. Isn’t your brother one of them phony cop wanna be’s? Where is Elder Vogel? The Queen is a clear and present danger to the taxpayers of this county. get your heads out of your asses and get the ball rolling.

     
  8. Since we’re all taking gossip does anybody know why John Paul retained a law firm from K Street in DC? I heard it’s true but no one is saying why. Someone told me he’s going on the attack but wouldn’t say against who?

     
  9. It’s Amateur Hour once again in Beaver County. John Q. Taxpayer, Benyo is cut from the same cloth as Martocci. They both affiliate with the wrong crowd and wouldn’t be a proper representative of the County. Benyo is sharp, however the wrong crowd can include your spouse. In mine and many others opinions, Decastro is a POS. Just ask anyone who has dealt with her. She would be an absolute nightmare as a judge.

     
  10. I’ve lived near the Beaver County Courthouse my whole life. At first, I looked upon local politicians, whether R’s or D’s, as leaders who did their best for the people they represented. As time went by I got older, a little wiser, and VERY cynical about politicians in general.

    About two years ago I stumbled across the BeaverCountian, reading how JP flipped the boards over and imagined how the Courthouse cockroaches scurried for the darkness they revel in. None of this would have been possible without JP’s investigative reporting. Keep up the excellent work JP, shining the light of truth on those vermin.

    Judge McBride or Judge Mancini. What’s the difference? The more things change, the more they stay the same. Randy Tallon as an Advisor on the Behavioral Health Board is a classical example of the inmate running the asylum. Two suited men with badges visiting Beaver County for the FIRST time looking for loser Lozier? Please please, oh PLEASE, let it be the FEDS and I hope they are PISSED!!

    Courthouse Concerns – Thank you for the information on DeCostro. She won’t be earning my vote anytime soon. However, I respectfully disagree with your comment on Benyo. He would make a fantastic judge. He’s a good man who loves his wife, for better or worse. That’s all I have to know.

    VOTE GERALD BENYO FOR BEAVER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY… OR JUDGE whichever one he picks.

     
  11. You are welcome Mr. Benyo. I just think you are made of the right stuff. You also have backbone and the ability to withstand adversity. There is plenty of time to consider the choices.

     
  12. Judge :

    Mitchell Shaheen…doesn’t have the testicular fortitude to run for JUDGE, unless it’s hammering police on the stand. Nice guy but not what a judge should be.

    Debbie Decostro: Why cause your getting tired in your minimal experienced law career and want the 175k per year job. This lady is the last one that should run. If she does it will be circus with those she offended

    Dirk Goodwald: couldn’t raise enough for district attorney, and train wreck of missteps in his election with family members, but really not enough experience to be judge, maybe magistrate though….

    Why not
    George Verlihay, Albert Torrence, Jack walker christ I would take ottis give me Tim Finn or ron Digornio

    Second line… Brittney Smith, bill brawlawske

     
  13. Attorneys all know that the newest Judge in Beaver County is assigned to Family Law, Divorce and/or Custody cases.
    Just ask the two newest Judges on the bench, Judge Fouse and Judge Ross. At least one of our two new Judges should have extensive Family Law experience. Most of our young Assistant D.A.’s and Public Defenders (political appointments) only have criminal law experience and have not dealt with issues for which most clients hire an attorney, i.e., Divorce, Custody, Civil Law, Real Estate and Probate Law.

     
  14. “Last week, the DeCostros filed suit in Beaver County against the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and staff writer Barbara White Stack. The DeCostros said their reputation has been damaged by news stories and editorials, and they are seeking compensation of more than $25,000.

    The suit says the DeCostros reputation was injured by an editorial that described their actions as “legal kidnapping” and news stories suggesting they obtained the child improperly”

    I guess we can see where “Con Con” learned her play book. I wonder if the old bag is doing the dog and pony show at meetings and on the radio as a distraction. Maybe even we find out she is jumping off a sinking ship and playing rat. Her and McBride have both been there an eternity now.

    “Judge Debbie” appears to be unfit to uphold law and clearly needs more “practice” time. Please step out of public service and hang out a shingle lady

    Anyone know if “the men in black” have coincidental timing to McBride stepping down? Are we letting him bow out gracefully Lozier? Whats going on in that big picture you have spent a year investigating. You shooting to pull in a RICO case around here???

     

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