County attorneys

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Regarding the story “Two Federal Magistrates Scold Allegheny County for Missing Lawsuit Deadlines” (Feb. 3, post-gazette.com): In the Family Court, the Allegheny County solicitors are assigned to represent plaintiffs in child support matters where a defendant is before a judge facing incarceration. It was often that the county attorneys would appear late for court, most always unprepared, having reviewed their cases just barely minutes, if that, before presenting them to the court. It was not unusual for some attorneys to “forget” that they were scheduled that day and just not show up.

Quite often the attorneys would present misinformation to the court as they had little or no knowledge of the case and simply relied on staff notes. It was certainly an injustice to the plaintiffs seeking child support. Family Division attempted to place a policy whereby the county attorneys would be “required” to appear before court began in order to review and be prepared to present the case in the best manner. Well, that didn’t last long as the county attorneys, like judges, dance to the beat of their own drum.

Some of the judges complained about the unprofessional behavior of the attorneys but most simply laughed it off since it seemed most were newly elected and had recently been on the other side of the bench. It was always my feeling that someone in the county Law Department needed to take control of these attorneys and require that they act as though they were working for private clients.

ROBERT O’SHEA
Family Court Manager, Retired
Crafton


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