Indiana County district judge to be reinstated to some duties Jan. 5
An Indiana County district judge is set to return to the bench Jan. 5 while she finishes the remainder of a one-year probationary sentence, according to President Judge William Martin.
But District Judge Jennifer Rega, 41, will not be permitted to hear criminal cases until her own court case in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program is completed, Martin said in a news release Tuesday.
“I'm pleased that she's being reinstated, and I believe she is deserving of being reinstated,” said attorney Robert Muir, who represented Rega. “She'll do an exceptional job in her capacity as magisterial district judge.”
Rega was charged in October for alleged involvement in a hit-and-run crash on a rural stretch of Route 286 about midnight Sept. 13 in Cherryhill in Indiana County. Martin placed Rega on administrative leave Sept. 22 while state police investigated the incident.
She was admitted into the ARD program Dec. 1 for one year. Entry into the program is not an admission of guilt. First-time, nonviolent offenders admitted to the program can have their records expunged if they meet requirements set by a judge.
Rega was ordered to perform 24 hours of community service, complete a drug and alcohol evaluation, and pay about $1,000 in court costs. She has continued to draw her $86,899 annual salary while on administrative leave.
Senior District Judge Daniel George has been handling all cases at Rega's Blairsville office, and Martin said he plans to continue using a senior judge to handle criminal matters there.
Rega “will handle all civil and landlord/tenant matters” in her district court office starting Jan. 5, Martin said.
Rega is accused of driving a GMC sport-utility vehicle that left the scene of a collision with another vehicle on Route 286. Police said Rega's SUV crossed the centerline and struck the driver's side mirror of a vehicle driven by a Homer City woman, who had two 17-year-old passengers. No one was injured.
The Homer City woman pursued the other vehicle, and both drivers stopped a few miles from the crash scene before Rega drove away, police said. Investigators traced the vehicle to Rega's residence by using the license plate number written down by the other driver. Police said they found damage consistent with the accident description. Rega took office in 2002. She was elected to her third six-year term last year.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or [email protected].