New judge sworn in; DA’s office reorganizes

KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Lycoming County Judge Eric R. Linhardt, left, receives a calculator from Senior Judge Kenneth D. Brown, right, during Linhardt's swearing in ceremony Tuesday morning at the Lycoming County Courthouse.

The past was remembered and the future embraced as former District Attorney Eric R. Linhardt was sworn in as judge Tuesday.

The ceremony in the Lycoming County Courthouse was a brief special court session but hosted a courtroom packed with area attorneys, members of law enforcement and other county employees and officials.

Following the customary inaugural ceremony, Linhardt was given a chance to speak after being sworn in by Senior Judge Kenneth D. Brown.

Linhardt has been practicing law for over 27 years with a first posting in the county’s public defender’s office. He then went into private practice before serving 10 years as the county’s district attorney.

“When I think back to my interview with the public defender’s office with Bill Miele and Nicole Spring, I was happy to take the job,” Linhardt said. “But I didn’t think I’d stay in Williamsport. I met my wife and stayed and I’ve found that it’s been a very nice place to live, raise my family and practice law.”

Looking back on some of his major influences in the local court system, Linhardt said he was very fortunate to have the bar set so high.

Linhardt’s longtime first assistant district attorney, Kenneth Osokow, will serve the rest of Linhardt’s unexpired term until the next election in 2019.

Osokow began with the county as a law clerk in 1976. He’s served as an assistant district attorney since 1977.

He was selected to serve the rest of Linhardt’s term following state legislation requiring that the first assistant district attorney take the title of district attorney during a vacancy.

Osokow was unable to make the ceremony and be sworn in due to an injury. He will be sworn in at a later date.

“Unfortunately, he isn’t here,” Linhardt said. “But I am excited for Ken to be the DA. There’s no doubt that the position will be well served and supported by some very talented young lawyers.”

Assistant District Attorney Martin Wade was sworn in as the new first assistant district attorney.

When Judges Marc F. Lovecchio and Joy Reynolds McCoy first were inaugurated in 2010, they brought in many changes to the way things were done.

“We would look at something and ask, ‘Why do we do it this way,’ “ McCoy said. “And the answer was that ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ “

Through working with Linhardt, McCoy said she has found herself answering that same question with “we’ve always done it that way” – explaining that she’s excited to see what positive changes Linhardt’s term will bring through his fresh perspective.

Linhardt was elected in November to fill the vacancy created by now Senior Judge Dudley N. Anderson’s retirement.

“Congratulations,” Anderson said. “I’ve left the office in great hands.”