PINE TOWNSHIP – Douglas Gerwick enjoyed his time serving as a magisterial district judge so much that he’s seeking a return to the bench.
Gerwick has announced his candidacy for Magisterial District Court 35-3-02, which is based in Pine Township.
District Judge D. Neil McEwen, who has run that court for the past 11½ years, recently announced that he is running for Mercer County Court of Common Pleas judge.
Gerwick, who lives in Pine Township with his wife Michelle and their sons Matthew and Daniel, previously served as the judge for Magisterial District Court 28-3-04 in Emlenton for over 18 years.
“I’ve missed it since I left,” he said, adding that the family has lived in the area since January 2012.
Gerwick is president of Grove City School Board and is chair of uts policy committee. He also works as an attorney, handling mainly wills and estates.
He is cross-filing on the Democratic and Republican tickets for the Pennsylvania spring primary, which will be May 18.
Gerwick likes helping people and teaching them how to be accountable for their actions.
He was always willing to work with people on managing their court payment plans, taking as much time as necessary to help them set up a schedule based on their available finances.
People seemed “amazed” that he kept his word with offers to help; Gerwick feels he treated people with respect.
“I think I made a difference in many people’s lives,” he said.
In his courtroom, Gerwick said he was able to help lower the tension and make feel people like they were actually being heard, even if he didn’t agree with him.
If elected as district judge, he would resign from school board to make the new position his top priority.
Judges take turn being on call, and they have to be willing to adapt to changes brought on by things like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a judge, you just have to go with the flow,” Gerwick said of being flexible.
There are three years left on his school board term, and that position has taught him more about listening to all sides before coming to a decision.
He’s had lots of positive feedback from the community about his bid for district judge, and he likes serving the Grove City area and the school district.
The district court covers the townships of Deer Creek, French Creek, Jackson, Lake, Liberty, Mill Creek, New Vernon, Pine, Sandy Lake, Wolf Creek and Worth; and the boroughs of Grove City, Jackson Center, New Lebanon, Sandy Lake and Stoneboro.
Gerwick has already handled every kind of court case that a district judge can oversee, so he feels he’s well-prepared for the job, which is a six-year post.
There are criminal cases, traffic tickets, civil disputes and more. District judges can settle or dismiss a case, or send it to Common Pleas Court.
During his time as district judge in Emlenton, Gerwick entered dispositions on more than 27,000 cases and collected and disbursed over $3.25 million in fines, court fees and restitution.
He oversaw homicide cases, and was appointed to preside over multi-county drug cases that came from grand juries.
He served on the County Court Security Committee; District Court Re-alignment Committee for the county and State Supreme Court; as the prisoner grievance judge; and president of District one of the Special Court Judges Association.
Gerwick helped develop alternative sentencing programs for domestic violence, underage drinking and tobacco use. Minor offenders were often ordered to perform community service and write reports so that the impact of their actions fell directly to them.
He received his undergraduate degree in history from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and he earned his law degree from Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh.
He received certification as a labor mediator and labor arbitrator from Cornell University’s Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution.
The Gerwick family belongs to the Church of the Beloved Disciple in Pine Township, and they enjoy traveling to places with built-in history lessons, like Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Mount Rushmore and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Gerwick loves to read, and he has been active with the booster groups for marching band and the boys’ soccer and tennis teams.