Berks voters elect two new judges, retain another

A veteran Berks County prosecutor, appearing on both the Democratic and Republican ballots, and a second GOP candidate were the top vote-getters in Tuesday’s balloting for two county judicial posts, according to unofficial election returns.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, First Assistant District Attorney M. Theresa Johnson, 47, of Brecknock Township, who is a registered Democrat, garnered 35,146 votes, while Republican Madelyn Fudeman, 56, of Cumru Township, garnered 25,625 votes, to win the two seats over Democrat Eleni Dimitriou Geishauser, 42, of Exeter, according to unofficial results. Dimitriou Geishauser garnered 20,625 votes.

The judicial contest was the top attraction in county elections this year. Judges, who are paid $173,271 a year, are elected to 10-year terms and the two new judges will take their seats in January. There are openings on the Berks County Court bench because Judge Linda K.M. Ludgate retired last December and Judge Peter W. Schmehl will retire in January.

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Johnson, who won the right to appear on both ballots during May’s primary election, currently serves at the first assistant district attorney, who is second in command in the district attorney’s office. Johnson joined the county district attorney’s office in 1993 as an intern and then rose through the ranks to a prosecutor who handled appeals as well as child abuse, drug and homicide cases, according to her resume. In 1998, Johnson was promoted to chief of trials. Johnson later left the office and entered private practice to focus on the area of civil law.

In 2000, Johnson re-joined the district attorney’s office as the supervising attorney assigned to work with the Reading Area Violent Crimes Task Force, according to her resume.

Fudeman is president and a shareholder in the law firm of Essig, Valeriano and Fudeman and is a former prosecutor who currently practices primarily civil litigation, real estate, zoning and land use and commercial transactions, according to her web site. Fudeman also was a legal producer and reporter at a Miami, Fla., television station where she covered high-profile trials, according to her resume. Fudeman also served as an assistant state attorney in the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida.

Dimitriou Geishauser began her legal career working alongside her late father, Emmanuel H. Dimitriou, in his law firm and was instrumental in the firm’s current evolution of Dimitriou Geishauser, P.C., where she and her husband, Kurt Geishauser, head up a practice that concentrates in the areas of criminal law, family law and estate administration.

Prothonotary

The only other contested countywide race on Tuesday was for prothonotary and that was won by incumbent Republican Marianne R. Sutton, 76, of Birdsboro, who garnered 24,871 votes. Sutton defeated Democrat Osmer S. Deming, 42, of Muhlenberg, who tallied 16,261 votes with 198 of 198 precincts reporting, according to unofficial election returns.

Incumbent county Coroner Dennis J. Hess, 60, a Spring Township Democrat, who was unopposed in Tuesday’s election, won his bid for another four-year term. Republican Dennis Adams, 62, of Amity, was unopposed in his bid for county treasurer and will succeed current Treasurer Nelson H. Long, a Republican who did not seek re-election.

The row officers are paid an annual salary of $78,566.

A current member of the Berks County Court bench, Judge James M. Bucci, 62, of Bern Township, won his bid for retention for another 10-year term by a 2-1 margin of yes-to-no votes.