MONTROSE, SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – Who will become the new permanent district attorney of Susquehanna County?
That question is still up in the air tonight and the answer depends on who you ask.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court could soon weigh in on what has become a brewing legal battle.
Court hearings are continuing as normal but there is a big question unresolved tonight in Susquehanna County.
After the death of District Attorney Bob Klein just over two weeks ago, the county has been left in somewhat of a legal limbo over who should succeed him.
Residents are starting to pay attention.
“That’s pretty important news and I think we should be a part of it as community members,” Stephanie Purdy of Springville said.
Klein’s First Assistant DA Bill Urbanski is currently handling the job.
He had a Luzerne County magistrate judge swear him in on New Year’s Day.
He wants the job permanently but the county’s president judge says he is not eligible for it because he was not a resident of the county.
That is what is required to be elected to the position.
Instead of Urbanski, the judge in Susquehanna County is looking to appoint attorney Marion O’Malley to the job.
Urbanski is now asking the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to allow him to remain DA through the remainder of Klein’s term. It runs through 2020.
“Here we are left in this strange situation with who should be the district attorney!” Susan McNamara of Friendsville said.
People living in Susquehanna County say the role of DA is an important one.
“The DA decides a lot of things for people’s lives!” Purdy said.
Right before Bob Klein died, Bill Urbanski established a residence in Susquehanna County.
Residency will become a big issue in this legal fight.
Urbanski believes the law allows him to automatically take over the role but some county residents think he needs to have lived in Susquehanna County for at least one year.
“Someone who has not been there that long kind of really doesn’t know what is going on, in my opinion,” Stephanie Tiongco of New Milford said.
There is no timetable for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to weigh in on the matter.
Both Bill Urbanski and Marion O’Malley declined to comment on the pending legal situation Thursday.