Friday, February 10, 2023

Michael O'Pake Announces Intent to Run for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County

Michael O'Pake Announces Intent to Run for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County

Michael A. O'Pake, District Attorney of Schuylkill County, has announced his candidacy for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County.

O'Pake is currently serving his second tenn as District Attorney of Schuylkill County, having first been elected in 2017 and re-elected in 2021. Prior to being elected, O'Pake served as an assistant district attorney from 1992 until 2013. He served as an assistant public defender from 2014 until 2017.

He is a native of Mahanoy City and  a 1981 graduate of Marian High School, a 1985 graduate of Dickinson College and a 1988 graduate of Dickinson School of Law.

Upon graduation from law school, O'Pake began working for the Curran Law Office in 1988 and handled corporate, commercial and zoning matters. He then opened his own law practice in 2000 with offices in Pottsville and Mahanoy City. O'Pake served as solicitor for the North Schuylkill, Saint Clair Area and Shenandoah Valley School Districts, Shenandoah and Mahanoy City Boroughs, Mahanoy City Sewer Authority, Mahanoy Township and the Norwegian Township Zoning Hearing Board. 

As solicitor for the school districts and municipal entities, O'Pake says he handled contract negotiations, construction litigation, tax assessment and tax appeal issues and employment issues.

O'Pake prides on his record of being tough on crime. 

In October of 2019, during O'Pake's first tern in office, he and his administration, along with his drug task force and state and local police, orchestrated the largest drug bust in the history of Schuylkill County that removed over one million dollars in drugs from the streets of Schuylkill County. 

"As District Attorney, I recognize that my ultimate responsibility is the safety of the community and holding criminal defendants responsible for their actions. That responsibility extends to the victims of crime and their families."

O'Pake, along with the County Judges and Court Administration, revamped the way criminal cases are processed through the system. O'Pake eliminated an eight-month backlog of cases that existed when he took office in 2018. 

Consequently,criminal cases are processed through the system more efficiently, ensuring justice and closure for victims and their families much sooner.

Immediately after taking office, O'Pake convened an "opioid summit" to address the opioid epidemic. That summit consisted of community leaders, school district officials, local and state law enforcement, health care providers and drug and alcohol treatment providers. From that summit, Schuylkill REACH (Recovery, Education, Advocacy and Community Health) was formed and meets monthly to continue to fight the war on drugs. O'Pake partnered with the Attorney General of Pennsylvania and introduced the Law Enforcement Treatment Initiative Program (LETI) to Schuylkill County.

O'Pake regularly visits elementary, middle and high school students to educate and warn them about the dangers of drugs, sexting, cyber-bullying, social media misuse, bomb threats and distracted driving. He also speaks with senior citizen organizations in the community about protecting their identity and identifying scams designed to steal their assets.

"I make decisions every day that affect the lives of victims and their families. I have the compassion, empathy, knowledge, ability and temperament to continue to make those decisions as a judge. My experience in criminal, civil, estate, personal injury, real estate, zoning, corporate, commercial, school and municipal law and family law and divorce matters makes me the most qualified candidate to serve as a judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County."

O'Pake's ability to serve and the bi-partisan respect of his peers was evident in January 2022 when he overwhelmingly received the highest number of highly recommended and recommended votes from the Schuylkill County Bar Association Judicial Qualification Ballot.

O'Pake is on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association, he is a member of the Pennsylvania and Schuylkill County Bar Associations, the Knights of Columbus, the Pottsville Lions Club, the Frackville Elks Lodge, the St. Clair Fish & Game Club, the National Rifle Association of America and a social member of several local fire companies.

He currently resides in Norwegian Township and is married to Jen Padinske O'Pake. The couple have two children, Michael A. O'Pake Jr., who works and resides in the Philadelphia area, and Caleigh O'Pake, a junior at the University of Delaware.