Erie County’s judiciary consists of nine trial court judges and 13 magisterial district judges. All are state employees, though they serve Erie County.

Their judges, along with those of the Erie County Court Administration, are overseen by Erie County President Judge John J. Trucilla.

The trial court judges – officially, judges of the Erie County Court of Common Pleas – are elected by the voters of Erie County. They are elected to a 10-year term, after which they can request that voters retain them. They hear both criminal and civil cases. They also hear matters involving children and families.

Before those accused of crimes face a trial court judge, however, they usually face one of the magisterial district judges at an arraignment or preliminary hearing. Magisterial district judges also hear traffic cases. Each Erie County magisterial district judges represents a different district in Erie County. They are elected to a six-year term, after which they can run for re-election in a competitive race.

Did you know? The mandatory retirement age for judges in Pennsylvania is 75, after voters statewide in November 2016 elected to raise it from the previous retirement age of 70.