I have been officially sworn in and am ready to serve our community. Thank you for all of the support!
Have a happy and safe holiday season!
It's been 24 hours since the polls closed and I've had some reflection on the campaign. What else can I say, but WOW! It took a community to get me elected, seriously. To get 61% of the vote means that regardless of party affiliation, people believe I am the best person for the job. I've spent my entire career trying to best defend my clients while living up to a set of values my grandparents and then my parents impressed upon me. Honesty, compassion, humility, diligence...I made a promise to my family and you that I will continue to uphold these values as a dad, a husband, a son, a brother, a neighbor and a
With that, I need to thank a plethora of people. Without them I don't even run for election let alone win. Betsy Whitman, JB, Barb Gallo, Josh Potter,
Justin Raymond, Larissa Sweitzer, Sarah Pearson, Susan Berbec, Katy
Colby, Grace Gorenflo, Chris and Eliza Marone, the Maggies, Sheridan
Miyamoto, Julia Rader, the Tysons, Maria Vinca, Jill Gomez, Kris
Hanahan, the Brigmans, Lassie MacDonald, Krista Espinoza, Dorn, Old
Nittany FC, Kathryn Urbanowicz, Tor and Amanda, Mike and Ashley Pipe,
Mark Higgins, Katie Blume, Barranquero's, my family at Shaver's Creek,
Coach, Elizabeth Lauranzana, my friends at the Palmer and at Schlow,
Tony Buda, Karina Nieto, Maria Sweet, and so many more...you believe in
me and I worked extremely hard to prove to you I will live up to
Additionally, I want to thank Jess Buckland, Dan Trevino, Tony Riccardi, Sara Carlson, and a huge thank you to Brian and Amy Marshall. You all did such a tremendous job putting yourselves out there, earning votes, earning support and trust from our neighbors. We all bonded and I am proud to stand next to you win or lose (but winning is fabulous!). Continue to do great things in this next adventure now that you all won as well.
Finally, my wife Lucy and best buddy Conary. I know this has been a challenging year. I get the instant gratification of people thanking me when I knock on their door, but you had to face the stress and the wear and tear without any feedback. I did this for you and our family. To prove that good guys can finish first, that the best person for the job should get the job, that by
leading my life a certain way I can be a positive influence for our
community -- and pass that on to our son. All the bowls of cereal, the
restless nights, the pent up frustration... we earned this, not me. You
are the joy of my life, I adore you and Conary more than anything. I love you.
Time to get to work to prove 61% were right and earn the trust and respect of the other 39%. Thank you and good night.
Letters of support keep pouring in. Thanks to everyone who has written!
"His opponent claims to be the only certified and qualified candidate, but he isn’t telling us the whole story: He had to take a four-week class because he is not a lawyer. Casey McClain is and he has the qualifications, education, and experience required to be an outstanding judge. You simply cannot compare a four-week class to 16 years of on-the-job experience. Learning as you go is no substitute for experience."
from Justin Miller - read the rest.
"McClain has 14 years legal experience as a trial lawyer and public defender, seven years as a Penn State Law guest judge, and four years as a Penn State Law adjunct professor. He is the inaugural recipient of the John R. Miller, Jr. Civility Award for his even-tempered, honest and civil style. McClain’s active involvement in his community— as a trustee of Schlow Centre Region Library, a member of the Board of Directors of Friends of the Palmer Museum of Art, and a member of Centre Soccer Association — demonstrates the level of commitment he’ll bring to the office of magisterial district judge."
Read Betsy Whitman's full letter here.
"The community deserves the best from our judges and there is a clear choice. Casey McClain is the only candidate with a distinguished and lengthy legal career and the recognized integrity and character that the position demands. As a trial lawyer McClain has served Centre County for 14 years now. He is an adjunct clinical professor at PSU Law. His entire career is interpreting and applying the law to best advise and defend clients. There is no better experience for a future judge than serving a key role in the courtroom, time and again, and only McClain has done this. The 2014 Civility Award from the legal community reflects the respect he has earned from his peers. They trust him to get it right, and so do we. We urge you to join us in supporting Casey McClain for District Judge on November 7th."
From Larry and Grace Gorenflo, printed in the CDT.
"The folks voting in this election should also know that Casey McClain not only serves as a public defender, but was hired as a professor at the Penn State School of Law. He co-founded and currently teaches the Indigent Criminal Justice Practicum, which teaches Penn State law students to be real trial attorneys. Through this practicum, Casey has given back to the community by teaching students to be trial attorneys and providing representation to hundreds of folks that could otherwise not afford representation."
Richard Settgast of Bellefonte has more to say here. One more from Justin Raymond of College Township, in print:
"I met Casey McClain almost a decade ago through his wife Lucy, who I work with at Shaver's Creek Environmental Center. As the years fly by, I've known Casey to be a terrific husband to Lucy, a wonderful father to their young son, and an active community member, whether it's being a part of Leadership Centre County, serving on the board of directors for Friends of Palmer Art Museum, or kicking the ball in the local soccer league. But Casey's knowledge and enthusiasm for his career in law is boundless. His willingness to help the community is exemplified through his teaching as a Penn State Law Adjunct Professor for the last four years.
Casey is extremely qualified to be Magisterial District Judge (for District Court 49-2-01, serving Patton, Ferguson, Halfmoon, and parts of College Townships.) He has 16 years of legal experience, with many of those days spent in the courtroom. On a daily basis, he interprets the law—a crucial requirement for any judge. He was awarded the John R. Miller, Jr. Civility Award for his "for his even-tempered, honest and civil style of representing clients in the often-heated arena of criminal law." He's even been endorsed by the local state police (Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 57).
In contrast, his opponent recently declared he is qualified for this position by completing a 4-week certification course. The choice is clear to me!"
StateCollege.com editor Geoff Rushton conducted interviews hosted by C-NET with candidates for several offices on local ballots. In his interview with Casey McClain, they discuss his background and experience, the role of a district judge, judicial philosophy, setting bail, and dealing with complex cases. See the full article here.
The Centre County Gazette's Voter Guide is now available. Please share these important interview questions with other voters!
Centre County Gazette: Why do you feel you are the best candidate for the position of district magistrate?
McClain: In a court of law, the district judge first and foremost makes legal decisions. The judicial code of conduct requires judges to interpret and apply the law and Constitution in a fair and impartial manner. All the while, they are earning the trust of the public and ensuring confidence in the judicial process.
I offer to the citizens of our local district 16 years of legal service, 14 of which were as a trial lawyer in the Centre County Public Defender office. I have given legal advice to thousands of clients during my career, and I have been in court on a daily basis during the course of my career, ranging from district court up to the Superior Court.
Twenty jury trials and countless bench trials have honed my legal skills, my attention to detail, my seasoned knowledge of rules of evidence and procedure and an understanding of the subtle art of negotiation.
As an adjunct professor at the law school, I train and mentor law students on how to be lawyers by demonstrating the techniques of trial advocacy.
Additionally, I have been recognized by my colleagues for representing and upholding the highest ideals of civility and professionalism within the local legal community.
In short, I offer both a distinguished legal career and a reputation built on honesty, level-headedness and earned respect within the legal field. These are the best qualities our community deserves.
Real legal experience and actual courtroom experience allows Casey McClain to honestly and thoroughly answer the questions with real ideas, not vague generalities. Read the rest of the Voter Guide here.
Thanks to everyone who is writing letters to the editor! Here are a few from this week. From Barbara Gallo of Bellefonte:
"As a former assistant court administrator, I had the opportunity to work closely with Casey and know that his experience in the courtroom his integrity, and his commitment to the community make him the best person to serve as Magisterial District Judge of the Centre Region." Read more.
And Maggie Ellis of State College:
Politics aside, McClain is the clear choice. He is a person of excellent temperament and clear insight. He is the only candidate with legal experience. He is ideally prepared for this position with 16 years of experience, 14 years here in Centre County’s Public Defender Office. He is in court almost daily and has represented thousands of clients. Actual courtroom experience is the best qualification for the position of judge, period. Throughout his career Casey McClain has demonstrated civility, respect and honesty to the courts. In a word, he has demonstrated class. Read more.
And Emily Duncan:
Not only is Casey great to have on the soccer field as a teammate, but he is the only candidate running for this position with legal experience. He has 16 years of legal experience and has been in court almost daily. He has given legal advice to thousands of clients over the years, and has been a practicing trial lawyer in the Centre County Public Defender office for the past 14 years. The most important qualities for being a judge are having the legal experience and training to make judicial decisions. McClain is the only candidate with extensive legal experience.Additionally, McClain is endorsed by FOP lodge #57 of local state police and has been recognized with the John R. Miller, Jr. Civility Award in 2014. McClain is respected and trusted by both the community and law enforcement as the best person for the job. Therefore, regardless of political party, McClain brings experience and honesty to the bench. He is the clear choice and best candidate. Please support him on Nov. 7. Read more.
Casey's closing statements from the League of Women Voters debate night. Thanks to everyone who helped organize and support this great event!
I first met Casey McClain and his wife Lucy when we moved to State College in 2008. We played in a recreational soccer league at Memorial Field. Since that time, Casey and I have played soccer hundreds of times in both friendly and competitive matches. Casey has always been a supportive teammate and brought a positive winning attitude to the team. I am writing this letter in support of Casey for district judge 49-2-01 serving College (North and West), Ferguson, Halfmoon and Patton townships.
There have been many letters written outlining why Casey has the best qualifications for this position, being a trial lawyer for 14 years in the Public Defender Office, being an adjunct professor at PSU Law the past four years, and even being recognized with the John R. Miller Jr. Civility Award, but I want the community to know who he is off the field, so to speak. Casey is a family man who loves his wife and son. He loves playing soccer and is a great teammate both on and off the field. He is warm and friendly, yet is competitive and works hard to achieve his goals. The Casey I know is willing to lend a hand and always wants to find the good in people. Casey has always approached life with a quick wit and a smile, he is a person I trust to do the right thing. These qualities combined with his exceptional legal experience make him the best candidate for our community.
Public defender Casey McClain earned an endorsement from Pennsylvania State Police troopers in his campaign for magisterial district judge.
The Frederick Sutton Memorial Lodge #57 of the Fraternal Order of Police unanimously voted to endorse McClain, the Democratic candidate for district 49-02-01, which serves Patton, Ferguson and Halfmoon townships and north and west College Township.
Lodge #57 membership is comprised of Pennsylvania State Police troopers serving Centre, Bedford, Fulton, Blair, Huntingdon, Mifflin and Juniata counties.
“My distinguished legal career and relevant education coupled with the way I have treated all people throughout my career define the characteristics of what makes the best judge," McClain said. "As a defense lawyer, I am especially proud to be recognized by the local state troopers for their endorsement."
McClain has been a trial lawyer in the Centre County Public Defender's Office for the past 14 years and an adjunct clinical professor with Penn State Law for the past four years.
Casey's radio ad will be aired the next three weeks on 3WZ, The B94.5 Live and the 98.7 FM The FREQ. Thank you to Seven Mountains Media!
Casey McClain is a local criminal defense lawyer and knows our system, our judges, our district attorneys, the police officers, and our local bar association. He has dedicated himself to the community and the future of the legal profession while representing his clients with integrity. He has the experience to make the correct legal decisions and he will pass judgment in a fair, compassionate manner, making sure to grant all those who come before the court equal access and a voice that will be heard. This is the bedrock of a profession we as a community need to have faith in. Casey is the candidate with the experience you can trust.
The son of two proud Penn State alums, Casey followed in his parents’ footsteps and attended Penn State, graduating in 1999. He completed law school at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. Finding an opportunity he couldn’t resist, Casey was offered a position in the Centre County Public Defender Office in 2004 and began his career in law. Casey’s true joy is raising a family. He and his wife have a little boy that keeps them on their toes. They also have a dog named Scout. You can often see the four of them taking walks through Park Forest.
Four years ago Casey helped create the Indigent Criminal Justice Practicum at the Penn State Law School. As an adjunct professor and co-director of the practicum, Casey offers a handful of students each year the unique experiential learning opportunity of learning how to be a criminal defense lawyer. Tasked with educating the students in ethics, professional responsibility, professionalism, trial advocacy, and the nuances of representing indigent clients, Casey enjoys molding students into tomorrow’s leaders.
Additionally, for the past seven years Casey has assisted as a guest judge for the trial advocacy course at Penn State Law. During exercises where students demonstrate different advocacy skills, Casey serves as a judge and offers demonstration of the skills necessary to succeed as trial lawyer.
Casey serves as a delegate on the Criminal Justice Advisory Board for Centre County. In this role he works as part of a committee that discusses and implements positive change to our local criminal justice system. For example, local and national affairs have brought attention to the heroin/opioid addiction epidemic. The CJAB works with town hall meetings to discuss and educate the community on this epidemic, and have worked on researching and are soon to implement the Drug Court. The CJAB is also working on finding ways to better integrate people soon to be released from the county jail back into society.
As Casey’s career has advanced, he has sought to be more involved in the community. Casey graduated from Leadership Centre County in 2016. Through that experience, Casey met a number of great people who take pride in our area and strive to help the community as a whole. For example, Casey and a team of wonderful women, The Fabulous Franklin Five, held a diaper drive to benefit a local agency that assists low income families. In only two weeks, over 2,500 diapers were donated by our neighbors! (Given this success, the diaper drive will happen again every Mother’s Day!)
Casey is also a member of the Friends of Palmer Art Museum board of directors. The board helps run fundraisers and awareness to benefit the largest art museum in the central part of the state. These funds also help continue much needed art education programs run through the assistance of our local schools in conjunction with the museum.
Casey’s wife, Lucy, is a program director at Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center. Casey and his family are active members with Shaver's Creek and they have developed a close bond with the families of all of the staff. Whether they are helping with the spring Maple Harvest Festival and cooking pancakes for hundreds of guests or taking a stroll on the Children's Halloween Trail, Shaver's Creek is a special place for the McClains.
Casey is also on the Board of Governors for the Centre County Bar Association. This group represents the entire Centre County association of lawyers and seeks ways to advance solutions to issues in the profession. For example, there is a growing need for immigration lawyers and the board is seeking to organize a pool of experienced lawyers to assist and advise other lawyers dealing with clients who may have immigration issues.
Casey will also represent Patton Township with his recent appointment to the Board of Trustees for Schlow Centre Region Library.
You might also catch a glimpse of Casey in the Centre Soccer Premier League. Casey has played soccer since he was four years old and each year he loves the sport, the camaraderie, and the competition more and more. He also is a proud member of Old Nittany Football Club, a team of mostly seasoned players who take part in the Penn State Club IM leagues. And now with a rambunctious two and a half year old son, Casey is enjoying watching his boy learn to love the same sport and take his place on the field.
A district judge is a minor judiciary post that serves a vital role in both the criminal and civil court system. A district judge signs search warrants, sets bail, presides over preliminary hearings and handles summary offenses such as underage drinking, speeding tickets, criminal mischief and violations of local ordinances. Additionally, a district judge presides over landlord/tenant disputes as well as civil suits under $12,000. For example, you might hire a person to re-pave your driveway and they take your money, but do a terrible job and fail to complete the project. To get your money back, you would go in front of a district judge.
We should all care about this necessary post to ensure the integrity and fairness of our court system. Whether you sit accused of a crime, a victim of a crime, the college student being forced to pay back security deposits, or a customer wronged, you deserve to be heard. You deserve to have your rights protected. You deserve to be treated fairly.
Casey is in his 14th year serving the community as a criminal defense lawyer in the Public Defender Office in Centre County. In the movies, when a police officer tells a defendant “…if you cannot afford a lawyer one will be appointed to you,” Casey would be one of the lawyers appointed. His career requires him to master the art of educating people. Be it a jury, his client or even a judge, Casey must be able to educate all based on the law and the facts of the case. Such skill requires a mastery of trial advocacy techniques, negotiation tactics, a sense of fairness, and a drive to defend the justice system by giving all his clients a voice.
As a criminal defense lawyer Casey interacts with judges, prosecutors, police officers, victims, and witnesses on a daily basis. In a career built on understanding a complex legal system, Casey strives to both zealously defend his clients and the justice system while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism. The court and bar association have recognized Casey’s reputation for respect and professionalism within the legal community. In 2014 the Centre County judiciary unanimously awarded Casey the inaugural John R. Miller, Jr. Civility Award for “his continuing commitment to the highest ideals of civility, collegiality, candor, and his unswerving dedication to client needs while never losing sight of the highest professional standards.” These qualities make Casey the ideal district judge for our community.
Serving as a criminal defense lawyer with the Centre County Public Defender Office, Casey has spent his career dedicated to protecting all his clients, working diligently to ensure there is a level playing field. But one of the subtle requirements of his career is listening to his clients. He must be able to effectively communicate with people from all socio-economic backgrounds, from people highly educated to those who can’t read and write. All people deserve to be listened to and treated fairly within the justice system. This skill will serve him well as a district judge who must listen to all parties regardless of their background, their education or their financial status.
Casey’s career is based on a foundation of hard work, listening, and integrity. His ideals are to ensure that all those who come to court have a voice, are treated with respect, and will be guaranteed a fair and honest hearing. Casey’s promise to you is that he will bring those ideals that have served him well to this position if elected.
Additionally, this office serves a large section of Centre County and thus has a large case load. With such a large work load, the position requires a commitment to serve this post as a full-time career. If elected, Casey promises that he will dedicate himself to putting the needed time and energy into the position.
Finally, Casey wants to institute a strong community service program as potential punishments. If appropriate, offenders should put in the time to both better themselves and better our community. Why simply pay a fine when eight hours on a weekend cleaning up Tudek Park benefits everyone? Lessons to be learned often require a bit of elbow grease, and Casey wants to work with the local police and community members to develop such a program.
As we celebrate the 230th anniversary of the adoption of the United States Constitution, I would like to share my thoughts about one particular right that has defined my career. The 6th Amendment commands that a person shall have the right to assistance of counsel in her defense. Walking into a courtroom charged with a crime, lacking the legal acumen, lacking the basic understanding of the criminal justice system, lacking even a basic comprehension of the legal jargon, what could be more daunting?
A right to counsel must not be a privilege only the rich are afforded. We all deserve counsel who will listen, who understands the system, the rules, the players, and the law.
As a public defender serving Centre County for the past 14 years, I’ve been witness to the necessity of a lawyer. While most people are guilty of the crimes they are accused of, not all are. And while most people need some measure of accountability, there must be balance, a sense of fairness. Without competent counsel who will check the government? Who will try to correct mistakes? Who will seek to level the playing field? Who will ensure all our rights are protected? If the Constitution is to have meaning it must protect all people. By ensuring the poor and vulnerable have equal access to competent counsel, the 6th Amendment continues to serve a vital role in American jurisprudence.
We are humbled by YOU, the voters, who went out to vote on May 17 and we are excited to continue our campaign journey into the general election this fall! Thank you for those who voted, supported our efforts to get signatures in February, hosted house parties this spring, and donated to the campaign efforts. We truly could not have done this without the support of the community—thank you, thank you, thank you!
"With seven candidates all cross-filed for both parties, Casey McClain won the Democratic nomination by a wide margin."
"Casey’s courtroom demeanor and respect for the court process led to Casey’s unanimous selection as the first recipient of the John R. Miller Jr. Civility Award. Casey’s 14 years as a criminal defense attorney and his four years as a Penn State Law adjunct professor qualify him for this position."
"At the recent candidate’s forum, Casey was the most prepared, answering questions with ease. He has clearly put much thought into how he will conduct himself as judge. If his tenure as judge is marked with the same distinction and dignity he has shown as a trial lawyer, this community will be very well served."
"McClain has been serving our community and defending our rights as a public defender for more than 14 years. In this election, he is the most experienced candidate and the only one who is in our local courtrooms on a daily basis."
Casey shares the two pieces of advice that he's been given regarding the position of District Judge.
"On May 16, residents of Ferguson, Potter, Halfmoon and College townships will be asked at the voting booth to select a district justice to make decisions that might impact their lives. In making that choice, I know of no candidate who is better qualified than Casey McClain."
"McClain has the legal experience we can trust. Most importantly, he utilizes compassion in all aspects of his life. He cares about having a positive influence in our community, as evidenced by his service on various local boards and graduating from Leadership Centre County."
"As an attorney, former public defender and longtime resident of Centre County, I’ve known McClain since he first started as an assistant in the Centre County Public Defender’s Office 14 years ago. ... I have no hesitation in recommending him as the best person to fill the vacancy for district judge and urge you to vote for McClain on May 16."
In 2014, McClain was awarded the John R. Miller Jr. Civility Award by unanimous vote of the Centre County judges. This award is reserved for lawyers with a career spent passionately representing their clients, while maintaining the highest standards of integrity, respect and civility. McClain was selected out of more than 250 lawyers in the county.
In “LCC Writes,” McClain said something that really hit home for me at the time: “Education, prevention and treatment must be a fundamental and ongoing goal for our society or else we will be a society of prison walls and shattered lives.” Someone with this mindset belongs on the bench next January.
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