Rendell taps Dem Party insider for judge

Lawyer Tom Nocella has run for judge on at least four occasions, and lost each time.

No matter. He might very well get to sit on the bench after all.

That's because Gov. Rendell today tapped Nocella, a longtime Democratic City Committee insider, to fill a Municipal Court vacancy. (He would replace Deborah Griffin, who was removed from the bench by order of the Supreme Court in May.)

In past years, Nocella has represented many a ward leader, City Committee itself, and most recently Carol Ann Campbell, the Democratic party secretary and former City Councilwoman.

Though nominated for a Municipal Court position - the Senate must still confirm his seat - Nocella previously ran, twice, for Common Pleas Court. Also, once he ran as a Republican.

If confirmed, he will be paid about $153,000 a year. To keep the seat, he would have to run in 2010.

Rendell today also nominated Joyce Eubanks - who was Campbell's legal counsel on Council - and Angeles Roca to fill two Common Pleas Court vacancies, positions that pay slightly more, at $158,000 a year. Those terms, too, expire in 2010.

"The fact that the governor decided to nominate them," said Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo, "has to do with the fact that they were qualified and confirmable. Those were the criteria he always uses."

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