Rob Wyda

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The Honorable
Robert C. Wyda
Judge Robert Wyda.jpg
Allegheny County Magisterial District Judge
In office
2000–2013
Personal details
Born March 26, 1959
Died August 5, 2013(2013-08-05) (aged 54)
Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Republican and Democratic

Rob Wyda (March 26, 1959—August 5, 2013) was the District Judge of Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair,[1] one of the largest magisterial districts in Pennsylvania.[2][3] Beginning in 1999, he was elected three times. He announced his candidacy for a seat on the Pennsylvania Superior Court in March 2013,[3] but withdrew a few weeks later.[4]

He also served as a Commander in the United States Navy Reserve in the Judge Advocate General's Corps.[5] Between 2003 and 2008 he fulfilled assignments in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.[3]

Legal career[edit]

Judge Wyda held a law degree from Duquesne University. Before taking office in January 2000, he spent seven years as an assistant district attorney, and three years as an assistant court administrator, in Allegheny County's district courts.[2][5]

As judge, he immediately took the lead in helping the community deal with an epidemic of heroin addiction.[6] He took one day a month to visit public and private schools in his district, and when dealing with juvenile offenders, Judge Wyda would give parents his cellphone number, instructing them to call him if their child was in danger of backsliding.[6] He was known to personally visit the homes of truant kids to discourage such behaviour.[6]

Elections[edit]

He was first elected in 1999, and won a second term in 2005.[3]

Judge Wyda ran in 2011 on both the Republican and Democratic Party primary tickets, defeating William S. Evans in both contexts, on May 17. He won 73.1% and 68.7% of the vote, respectively.[7][8] He ran unopposed in the November 8th general election.[9] His term would have expired in 2018.[citation needed]

Wyda announced his candidacy on March 1, 2013, for Seat 1 on the Superior Court of Pennsylvania,[3] but despite getting the required 2,000 signatures and qualifying for the Republican primary ballot, he withdrew from the race on March 27, leaving the GOP nomination to Cumberland County attorney Vic Stabile.[4]

Military service[edit]

In 2003 Wyda spent time at the Bagram detention facility assisting in the investigations of detainees suspected of international terrorism.[10][11][12]

In 2006 Wyda served assisting the prosecution prepare cases against Guantanamo captives who faced charges before the Guantanamo military commissions[5][13] as part of the United States Department of Defense's Criminal Investigation Task Force.[14]

Wyda was extensively quoted in a 2007 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article about his time in the service, saying:[5]

  • "The detainees are receiving humane treatment -- period,"
  • "One of the detainees walked into court and said, 'I'm going to make this easy for all of you. I did what you've accused me of,'
"It was chilling. It gave me goose bumps. It affirmed for me that what I was doing in (Guantanamo) was the right thing to do, to be a part of the mission to bring these evildoers to justice."
  • "That's why these people are still detained ... These organizations are underground, so there's going to be a need for security and secrecy in fighting this war."

Judge Wyda would attend Bethel Park High School graduations in his Navy uniform and recognize graduates who signed up for military service.[6]

Death[edit]

Wyda died at age 54 on August 5, 2013 of a heart attack in his home in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania.[6] He was survived by his wife, Shannon, son, Jared, daughter, Rachel and mother, Martha.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Healy, Robert Edward (August 7, 2013). "Bethel Park-Upper St. Clair Magistrate Robert Wyda Dies". Upper St. Clair Patch. 
  2. ^ a b Niederberger, Mary (August 7, 2013). "Obituary: Robert C. Wyda / District judge from Bethel Park". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Bethel Park Judge Rob Wyda Runs for Superior Court". Union-Finley Messenger. March 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Gibson, Keegan (March 27, 2013). "Wyda Out; Stabile Has Clear Path to Superior Court Nom". Politics PA. 
  5. ^ a b c d Cronin, Mike (May 28, 2007). "Judge: Gitmo work 'right thing to do'". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on 2013-08-08. Retrieved 2007-05-28. From January to June 2006, Wyda helped prosecutors review the strengths and weaknesses of United States cases against some of the hundreds of the people designated "enemy combatants" and kept at Guantanamo's U.S. naval base. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Santoni, Matthew (August 6, 2013). "Judge gave people chance to right wrongs". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. 
  7. ^ Allegheny County Department of Elections, Unofficial Primary Election Results
  8. ^ SmartVoter.org, Judge; Magisterial District Court; District 5-2-20; Republican Party Voter Information
  9. ^ Allegheny County, Election Night Final Results
  10. ^ James, Ellen (2003-12-25). "Justice takes a tour of duty". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on 2013-08-08. Retrieved 2013-08-08. For five weeks in November and December, Rob Wyda wore a gun and a bulletproof vest instead of his usual black judicial robe. 
  11. ^ "Rob Wyda, District Justice" (PDF). The Journal: Special Court Judges Association of Pennsylvania. October 2003. Retrieved May 28, 2007. [dead link]
  12. ^ Rear Admiral Steven B. Kantrowitz, JAGC, USNR (March 8, 2004). "FlagpE-Gram 04-01". Naval Reserve Judge Advocate General Corps. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  13. ^ Reilly, Richard Byrne (2006-03-29). "Judge tackles terrorism in Guantanamo Bay". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on 2013-08-08. Commission hearings occur once a month at the tightly guarded Camp Delta. Wyda, who attends as an observer, is primarily responsible for analyzing evidence on terror suspects captured in Afghanistan and presenting his findings to the U.S. Defense Department's Criminal Investigative Task Force. 
  14. ^ Ackerman, Jan (January 12, 2006). "Military Calls Judge for Service in Cuba". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. S-2. 

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