Judge Lunsford announces retention campaign

Former Judge Bradley Lunsford
Former Judge Bradley Lunsford Centre Daily Times, file

Centre County Judge Bradley P. Lunsford officially announced his campaign seeking retention as judge Tuesday, according to a press release from his campaign committee.

“Outside distractions — and not justice — have defined the Centre County court system lately,” Lunsford said in the release. “There is absolutely no place for this behavior in our courts. By giving me the honor to continue as your judge, I will fight to restore the Centre County court system to ensure its unwavering commitment to fair and balanced justice for all.”

Committee spokesman Vinh Vuong said that one way Lunsford hopes to achieve that goal is by working on a protocol to address the way attorneys communicate with judges, with more information to be revealed on the campaign website in the coming weeks.

The release pointed to Lunsford’s role as founder and lead organizer of the Centre County Children’s Advocacy Center and involvement in the creation of the Centre County DUI court as positive contributions to the community.

But it's been a challenging year for Lunsford, who has faced accusations publicly and in court filings regarding possible ex-parte communications, his relationship with members of the Centre County District Attorney’s Office and missing documents from the prothonotary’s office.

Lunsford was reassigned from hearing criminal cases with the exception of DUI court as a result of a December court order signed by President Judge Thomas King Kistler.

Vuong dismissed the allegations Tuesday, saying the documents are all available to the public in the county’s online Webia system and that a review of Lunsford’s record would depict a fair jurist. Vuong also said that Lunsford has not contributed to any of those distractions because he has not been involved in any recent litigation involving the courts and remained silent throughout the process.

“Now that the official retention campaign has been launched, the public will realize that he is a very humble man who has done great things for the Centre County community,” Vuong said.

In the release, Lunsford spoke of difficulties that have fallen upon county government because of “what appears to be flawed, improper motivations and compromised legal advice.”

Vuong declined to comment on any particular person or group the comment was directed at or to elaborate on it. Vuong also declined to comment on an investigation being conducted by the state Judicial Conduct Board or on the court order that reassigned Lunsford from hearing criminal cases except for DUI court.