State College Mayor Don Hahn to run for open district judge seat

Don Hahn was sworn in as the new State College Borough mayor in January 2018.
Don Hahn was sworn in as the new State College Borough mayor in January 2018.

State College Mayor Don Hahn announced Tuesday he will be running for magisterial district judge in this year’s municipal election.

He would be looking to fill the seat of retiring incumbent Judge Carmine Prestia, Jr., who has served the State College District Court for 24 years, and will retire in January 2020, according to a press release from Hahn.

If Hahn were to win Prestia’s seat, he would have to step down as mayor of State College, leaving the part-time position vacant before the four-year term set to expire in 2022 is up.

Hahn, in addition to serving as mayor, has practiced as an attorney for 25 years and is one of the founding members of State College law firm Stover, McGlaughlin, Gerace, Weyandt & McCormick. He served 12 years on State College Borough Council and two years as council president.

“A judge needs to be smart enough to command the respect of the parties and their attorneys but humble enough to learn from them. A judge needs to be tough enough to maintain order in the Court but fair enough to give the parties an ample opportunity to tell their truths,” Hahn stated in a press release. “A judge needs to not only recognize good legal arguments but also to inquire if the facts fit those arguments. A judge needs to balance the need to protect the public with the opportunity to rehabilitate those who can be redeemed.”

If elected as judge, Hahn said that he wants to focus on landlord-tenant mediation, pro bono representation of impoverished parties with respect to small civil claims, translation service for parties where English is a second language and restorative justice.

Petitions for the May 21 primary begin circulating on Feb. 19. After that, Hahn said, he will begin his campaign in earnest.

“I hope to bring my 25 years of experience in both public service and legal practice to continue the tradition of fairness and justice which I would inherit from Judges Prestia and (Clifford) Yorks,” he said in the press release.