WILKES-BARRE — Judge Joseph Cosgrove wants to remain on the Commonwealth Court bench because he believes Luzerne County needs a representative to serve there.
Cosgrove, 60, a native of Pittston, was appointed to Commonwealth Court in July 2016 by Gov. Tom Wolf. Cosgrove is seeking a 10-yer term on the state court.
Commonwealth Court is an appeals court that primarily handles cases involving state and local governments, nonprofit corporations and regulatory agencies.
Before joining Commonwealth Court, Cosgrove served as chief counsel for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and prior to that he served as a Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas judge from 2010 to 2012. Cosgrove was appointed to the county court by then-Gov. Ed Rendell following the “Kids for Cash” scandal.
Cosgrove said he is the first and only Luzerne County resident to serve on Commonwealth Court.
“This court renders decisions that affect everyone,” Cosgrove said. “It’s important for someone who knows and understands Luzerne County to sit on the court.”
Cosgrove said in his nearly one year on the state bench, he has written dozens of opinions and he has made an impact on decisions of the court. He said if he is elected, he will not need any time to prepare for the job.
Cosgrove said his experience as a judge and as a lawyer make him uniquely qualified to continue serving on Commonwealth Court.
The terms of Cosgrove and Julia Hearthway are ending on Commonwealth Court. Both were 2016 appointees — Cosgrove has decided to seek election, but Hearthway decided not to run.
There are six Democratic candidates and two Republican candidates seeking the two open seats on Commonwealth Court:
• Joseph M. Cosgrove (D, Incumbent)
• Todd Eagen (D)
• Ellen H. Ceisler (D)
• Bryan Barbin (D)
• W. Timothy Barry (D)
• Irene McLaughlin Clark (D)
• Christine F. Cannon (R)
• Paul Lalley (R)
Cosgrove earned his law degree from Notre Dame University, and he is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and the Luzerne County Bar Association.
According to his website — cosgroveforpa.com — Cosgrove’s passion for civil rights and social justice took him to the national and even international stage. His well-publicized friendships with Mother Teresa of Calcutta (now St. Teresa) and award-winning actor Martin Sheen, who considers Cosgrove among his closest friends, have been a part of his tireless work for the less fortunate and the cause of justice.
Cosgrove remained in close touch with St. Teresa during the last decade of her life and participated with her on a number of cases involving people in need here and abroad.
Cosgrove and Sheen met through a mutual friend nearly 40 years ago and have remained as close as family ever since. The two have collaborated on many projects involving social justice issues, as well as television and cinema.
His wife, Sharon, is an associate professor of art at Wilkes University.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.