Panebianco Out At City Court

Jamestown officials are looking for a new second full-time judge.

Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi told The Post-Journal that current part-time judge, George Panebianco, will not be accepting the position. Earlier this month, it was announced the state has determined the city needs two full-time judges. Prior to this decision the city had one full-time judge, John LaMancuso, and Panebianco as a part-time judge. Panebianco could have selected to be the second full-time judge, but would have had to stop practicing law as an attorney.

“Judge Panebianco notified me (Thursday) that he would not be accepting the position, and thus ceases to be the second court judge for the city affective April 1,” Teresi said. “(Panebianco) will now go full-time with his private law practice.”

With the vacancy, Teresi, as mayor, will appoint the new judge to a 10-year term. He said he has set no timeline or deadline for the process. However, he understands the second full-time judge is needed as soon as possible to keep pace with court dates.

“There is an old adage – I will take all the time I need and only the time I need,” Teresi said about the selection process. “I take this decision very seriously. This is a significant appointment with long-term implications. I’m going to review every candidate carefully.”

Teresi said he has already been contacted by potential candidates for the position. He said there are two main requirements for the next full-time judge. One is their primary residency must be in the city and, secondly, they must have been practicing law in the state for a minimum of five years.

Teresi said, as the stature is written currently, the new judge will have a 10-year term. At the end of the term, the mayor will either reappoint the judge to the position or could appoint a new candidate. He said the law is not currently an elected position like LaMancuso’s, who was elected to his third 10-year term last fall. Teresi said the new full-time judge position could be changed to an elected position by state officials in the future.

The new second court would be held in Jamestown City Council’s chambers on the second floor of the city’s municipal building, located at 200 E. Third St. The changing of a part-time judges to a full-time position is happening in several cities throughout the state. Once Teresi has selected an appointee, City Council will then need to approve the appointment before he or she is sworn in as judge.