Sean Maguire is one of five candidates seeking a vacant City of Lebanon Magisterial District Judge seat in the May 18, 2021 election.  

The post opened up when longtime MDJ Thomas Capello retired in 2020. The office at 502 State Drive, officially known as Magisterial District Court 52-2-01, serves the 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Wards on the city’s south side.

Unlike his four opponents who have cross-filed and will appear on the Democratic and Republican tickets, Maguire’s name will appear only as a Republican. 

Maguire is a full time teacher at Lebanon’s Paloma School, a bilingual Christian school that teaches children in English and Spanish.

He is also a licensed Pennsylvania attorney, although he does not actively practice law, and the only lawyer among the five candidates for the city judicial post.

The 32 year-old Oregon native moved to Lebanon County in 1999, then to Virginia in 2009 to attend Liberty University. At Liberty, he received a 2013 bachelor’s degree in government and his law degree in 2016. 

Maguire worked in Virginia as a lobbyist for the Family Foundation, and returned to Lebanon County in 2019 to be nearer to his extended family.

Why does he want to be an MDJ? “I am the only attorney running for the office. That distinguishes me from the others,” he said. “I think it’s an important distinction because [MDJs] don’t hear really complex cases . . . but the simplest legal mistake can cost so much money and time.”

Magisterial District Judges, once known as “justices of the peace” or “magistrates,” are the lowest level of judge in Pennsylvania’s judicial system, and are many citizens’ first and only contact with it. They handle the initial stages of criminal cases, traffic and parking tickets, landlord-tenant cases, and civil lawsuits for up to $12,000 in money claims.

The annual salary for all Magisterial District Judges throughout the commonwealth is $93,338.

Other announced candidates are James Capello, Aurelis Figueroa, Anthony Magaro, and Erik Itzen

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Chris Coyle writes primarily on government, the courts, and business. He retired as an attorney at the end of 2018, after concentrating for nearly four decades on civil and criminal litigation and trials. A career highlight was successfully defending a retired Pennsylvania state trooper who was accused,...