Butler County judge moves to judicial discipline court

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Butler County Judge Timothy McCune is accustomed to sitting in judgment.

He has worn the black robes of a Common Pleas Court judge since January 2006. As a newly appointed member of the Pennsylvania Court of Judicial Discipline, he now will be asked to judge judges.

"In a perfect world, there'd be no need for this court but it's not a perfect world," he acknowledged.

Just months after two Common Pleas judges in Luzerne County were issued long prison sentences for corruption, Judge McCune is painfully aware that judges at any level of the state's court system are capable of failures.

Judge McCune was appointed Sept. 23 by Gov. Tom Corbett to the judicial court that would hear allegations of misconduct against judges, ranging from the district level to the state's highest court, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. There generally are about five such cases annually.

Eight judges sit on the discipline panel and each is asked to serve a four-year term. He is the only member from Butler County. Two other Butler County residents have served: Common Pleas Judge Marilyn Horan and Common Pleas Judge Kelley Streib -- though Judge Streib was a district judge at the time of her appointment.

Members need not be judges. Anyone can be asked to serve. Four are appointees of the governor while four are appointed by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Terms are staggered.

Judge McCune said he is honored to have been asked and will do his best.

"I'm not afraid of making tough decisions. I've been doing that since I was DA," he said, he referring to his tenure as Butler County District Attorney from 1996 to 2005. He was an assistant DA from 1982 to 1984 and was a partner in the Butler firm of Marshall, McNamee, Macfarlane, McCune and Rauschenberger from 1984 to 1985.

The other members of the court of discipline are John W. Morris of Philadelphia; Joseph M. James, Bernard L. McGinley and Carmella Mullen, each of Allegheny County; Robert E. J. Curan of Delaware County; Charles A. Clement Jr. of Cumberland County; and John R. Cellucci of Chester County.

Judge McCune is a 1972 graduate of Grove City College and a 1981 graduate of the University of Akron School of Law. He and his wife, Patricia, live in Butler. A son, Matthew T. McCune, is a second-year law student at Duquesne University.

Karen Kane: kkane@post-gazette.com or 724-772-9180.


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