Confusion over D.A. Discrepancy in Susquehanna County

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MONTROSE -- There's a new top cop in Susquehanna County, but there's plenty of uncertainty over who will be the district attorney long-term.

Another attorney believes he's in charge and plans to challenge the new D.A. in court.

Bill Urbanski was the second in command when former Susquehanna County District Attorney Bob Klein passed away late last year.

Urbanski took over, but a county judge has a difference of opinion and appointed Marion O'Malley, then swore her into office Monday morning.

Then, according to county leaders, she fired Urbanski Monday afternoon.

Shortly after she was sworn in to fill out the term of the late Susquehanna County district attorney, Marion O'Malley was all smiles. O'Malley ran for the office a couple years back and lost by a few dozen votes.

"It was a disappointment, to say the least. I'm happy to be able to say that the court had the confidence in me to make this appointment," said D.A. Marion O'Malley, (R) Susquehanna County.

But there's already someone in the district attorney's office who believes he should be D.A.

Bill Urbanski shared a photo on New Year's Day of a district judge in Luzerne County swearing him into office because the judge in Susquehanna County would not.

Urbanski currently does not live in the county.

"We'll continue to do the work for the commonwealth unless I'm told otherwise, so I had a full docket this morning, have a full docket this afternoon," Urbanski said.

Urbanski asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to stop the judge's appointment of O'Malley and just last week, the court refused to step in, but left open the option for Urbanski to take the issue to court.

"There is definitely uncertainty. Hopefully, it will sort itself out in the short term," Urbanski said.

"At this point, it's going to be a day-by-day process until all those things are settled with the court. I hope it's done quickly," O'Malley said.

On Monday, defendants and attorneys weren't sure who was in charge and what that means for their cases. Many hearings were postponed at court near New Milford due to the D.A. discrepancy.

"There's a lot of uncertainty at this point and time. It's hard to practice law. Life moves on and cases will have to be resolved," said defense attorney Jason Beardsley.

District Attorney O'Malley started on the job Monday and it's unclear whether she'll be getting paid the roughly $180,000 a year salary.

Urbanski plans to file suit later this week. His attorney says they had to wait until O'Malley was sworn in to move ahead.


  • Roflmao

    You folks are more confused than a convict on fathers day! The top cop (if you want to call it that) is the constitution. Their all sworn to uphold. Idiots!

  • Ben

    Here’s the whole breakdown: the old DA passed away last year. State law says if the DA dies or cannot serve, the assistant DA takes over. However, state law also says a citizen must live in the county for at least one year prior to being DA. Urbanski doesn’t live in Susquehanna County, and he just started renting a place in the county right before the old DA died in December. Since the assistant DA wasn’t eligible to serve as the DA, under state law the sitting judge appoints a new DA, which is what Judge Legg did by swearing in O’Malley. Urbanski fully knows he cannot serve as the DA, which is why he had a magistrate from a different county swear him in. Think about it, it’s like someone going to Canada and being sworn in by a Canadian judge to be president of the US because they didn’t meet the legal requirements to serve. O’Malley is rightfully the DA.

  • Sue

    seems like there should be some rules or guidance in situations like this. Similar to if the President dies or is incapacitated the VP takes over. that would have solved the whole issue. Instead you have “give me back my toys” like spoiled kids. She initially lost the election even if only by a “few dozen” votes. Does that automatically entitle her to the job if something happens?

  • Cowboy

    What’s the difference, they will sit on their ass and work when it’s election time again.look at what I did!
    The higher up, more money and less work.

  • Exposed

    She lost the election….Urbanski in Dec claimed residency…..and should inherit the job….hope he fights this for the people …..we deserve fairness….abuse of power starts at local government levels….

    • Bill

      He rented a farmhouse 2 weeks before DA Klein passed away. How convenient is that? You must be an Urbanski fan because that isn’t legal to establish residency anywhere that I can find. Then he goes down to Luzerne County, his legal residence, to get sworn in. The only good thing about this is that whatever the outcome, Urbanski will forever be remembered as a political gold digger that will attempt to circumvent the law to get what he wants.

    • eye4ni

      No walnut your wrong – In Monroe County, a district attorney (DA) represents a state government in the prosecution of criminal offenses, and is the chief law enforcement officer at the county level.

      Please check your facts before making an incorrect statement and posting it in a public forum.

      • Jammie87

        Have you looked at the record of the DA in Monroe County? Plea bargain away felonies? Thats not being a Top Cop.

    • Liam G

      Actually, by state law, neither the sheriff nor the DA are “top cop”. Ready for this? The top law enforcement official in a Pennsylvania county is…THE CORONER!

    • Brandon

      How can the sheriff be top cop if he can’t even patrol the roads or start an investigation. DA is top cop.

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