Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Werdt Announces Candidacy for Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas

In February, Attorney Julie Werdt announced her candidacy for the 2021 Judicial Election for the Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas.
“Schuylkill County is where I grew up, where I choose to practice law, and where I proudly raise my children,” said Attorney Werdt. “I believe the residents of this county are looking for an unbiased judge with practical courtroom experience. That’s why I’m excited to announce my intention to run for one of the two judicial vacancies created by the retirement of Judge Dolbin and Judge Domalakes.”

Attorney Werdt is a member of the Schuylkill County Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Schuylkill County Women’s Law Caucus, and is a past member of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. Werdt has litigated hundreds of civil, criminal, and orphans’ court matters before the judges of the common pleas court.

“I don’t think most people understand how many different types of cases are presided over or decided by Common Pleas Judges.” Werdt said. “It’s more than just criminal jury trials. Judges make decisions about child custody. They say whether a defendant gets bail and can leave prison, and they decide if someone has violated parole and needs to go back to prison. They decide whether families must allow Children and Youth into their homes and whether children must go to foster care. They even decide if someone can change their name. I’ve litigated almost every type of case that a common pleas judge could decide.”

Werdt’s civil and orphans’ court experience involves custody trials, protection from abuse hearings, adoptions, name change petitions, and incapacity hearings. She has handled Children and Youth matters including dependency hearings, proceedings for the termination of parental rights, open adoption proceedings, and review hearings for families receiving services from Schuylkill County Children and Youth.

Her experience with criminal law matters, ranges from summary citation appeals to jury trials for attempted murder and sexual assault. She handles ancillary criminal proceedings including suppression motions, bench warrant hearings, bail matters, capacity hearings, costs and fines hearings, and probation and parole matters.

Werdt has a broad range of experience, not just in different areas of the law, but also in representing the various interests of the litigants and parties involved. “Next to my experience in court, I think that my greatest asset is my ability to see both sides of an issue,” Werdt said. “I practiced criminal defense before becoming a prosecutor. At one time, I was Schuylkill County’s only private, female criminal defense attorney.” Werdt went on to state, “When it comes to child custody hearings, I’ve represented fathers, mothers, step-parents, grandparents and even children. Currently I am a prosecutor for the county and an attorney for victims of domestic violence.”

Attorney Werdt currently resides in Orwigsburg and has been a resident of Schuylkill County all of her life. She grew up in Washington Township and graduated from Pine Grove Area High School. She then attended the University of Pittsburgh and completed a dual major program for Business and Art History. Werdt attended Widener University School of Law and graduated in 2006. She worked part-time for a law office in Pottsville while maintaining her full-time status at Widener. After graduating law school and passing the bar exam she worked as a law clerk for President Judge William E. Baldwin. She then became an associate attorney at Williamson, Friedberg and Jones, LLC. In 2015 Werdt established a solo practice and has represented hundreds of clients at proceedings before the common pleas court. When Mike O’Pake was elected District Attorney of Schuylkill County, Attorney Werdt accepted a job as a prosecutor with his office.

In addition to practicing law, Werdt assists with the management of Atkinson Industries, Incorporated, her family’s metal fabrication business. Outside of work, Attorney Werdt spends time with her children and supports them in their numerous activities. Werdt coaches junior high cheerleading for the Blue Mountain School District and previously coached the Blue Mountain High School Mock Trial team.

“People come to court and ask judges to make important and life-altering decisions about matters that are very personal to them. I want the people of this county to feel that they have been heard and understood by the person they have elected to make those decisions. I feel it would be a great honor for the residents of Schuylkill County to entrust me with such a significant task.”

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