McKean County Court of Common Pleas
Welcome to the McKean County Court of Common Pleas website. From this page you can access the website of the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania where you can view a video on Pennsylvania’s Courts; look up a local magisterial district judge; learn how the court system is organized; check a court record online and find a commonly used legal form. In addition you can also access from this page the Pennsylvania Judiciary Web Portal. The Pennsylvania Judiciary Web Portal provides the public with access to various aspects of court information, including appellate courts, common pleas courts and magisterial district court docket sheets; common pleas courts and magisterial district court calendars; state and local rules of court; and ePay. The menu located in the upper right hand corner of this page contains content which is related to assisting parties with court proceedings before the various divisions of our Court. Here you will find the weekly court calendar; the Local Rules of Civil and Criminal Procedure; information from our Orphans’ and Family Courts; forms; a directory of court personnel and more.
McKean County Court of Common Pleas Statement of Purpose:
The Purpose of the Court is to justly decide the controversies presented.
We do that by…
Treating all people with dignity, courtesy, civility and respect.
Listening carefully, considering conscientiously, and deciding wisely.
Applying the law with impartiality and integrity.
Providing a forum that is fair, in a setting that is dignified, safe and clean.
Recognizing the Court’s responsibility to protect the rights of all citizens.
Acknowledging the Court’s duty to encourage where possible, and to compel to where appropriate, every citizen to carry out the responsibilities owed to one’s family, community, state and nation.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Responsible for the Administration of Justice:
District Justices - small claims, landlord/tenant disputes, driving violations, non-traffic violations, criminal offenses bound to Common Pleas Court.
Court of Common Pleas: all civil and criminal cases, Law Library
Family Court - (types of litigation) - divorce, child support, custody, dependency, delinquency, Protection From Abuse (PFA) orders
Orphans' Court - adoptions, terminations, guardianships, accounts (estate-settling disputes)
2012 Growing Good Gardens Annual Report
Symbolic Location of McKean County Courthouse
John M. Cleland, President Judge
To the McKean County Historical Society June 17, 2002
"The Courthouse stands between Main Street to the south and King Street to the north. Symbolically separating the traditions of democracy, where power resides in the hands of the people, from the traditions of authoritarian power, where the important decisions of everyday life are made by those far removed.
The Courthouse stands between State Street to the east and Church Street to the west symbolically separating church and state, one of the keystones of our democratic traditions and constitutional democracy."
Four Courthouses in 177 Years
Pictured above is the fourth and current McKean County Courthouse. The first courthouse, completed in 1826 and the second courthousecompleted in 1851 were designed and built by Smethport native Solomon Sartwell. Both were brick and of a Federalist architectural style. The second courthouse served its purpose until the boom in the Bradford oil fields swelled the county's population. In the years between 1874 and 1881 the county's population climbed from less than 10,000 to over 45,000.
The need for better safekeeping of documents led to a third courthouse. It was completed in 1881 at a cost of $80,000. Buffalo architect Milton Earl Beebe was hired to design the project. Beebe had considerable experience and fame, and the retaining of such a noted architect indicated the new found importance and wealth of the county. In addition to the McKean County Courthouse in Smethport, Beebe also built the courthouses for Warren, Cambria, Elk and Huntingdon Counties in Pennsylvania as well as dozens of important structures in the Buffalo, New York area.
February 12, 1940found the magnificent building a smoldering waste, as flames leaped 130 feet in the sky, defying the efforts of firemen from Smethport, Kane, Mt. Jewett, Eldred and Port Allegany. The fourth courthousewas dedicated June 14, 1942 on that site.
Source: Smethport Historical Society, Planet Smethport.
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