The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

January 6, 2007

District Attorney Epstein says this term will be his last

MERCER COUNTY — James P. Epstein has sauntered the halls of the Mercer County Courthouse for more than three decades as a district attorney or assistant district attorney. Come next January, that will come to an end.

Epstein, the county’s chief law enforcement officer since 1986, announced Friday he won’t seek re-election this year. His term officially ends next January.

“At some point, everyone has to make a decision about when it’s time to move on,” he said. “I’ve had a wonderful, fulfilling career and my health is good. I want to leave this position while I’m still at the top of my game. And I think by doing this I’m going to ensure that happens.”

While Epstein, 56, will be stepping away from the only thing he has known for nearly 32 years, he doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon.

Epstein, who lives in Sharon with his wife Mary Anne Phillips, served as a part-time lecturer at Penn State Shenango in Sharon in the mid-1990s and would be interested in teaching again.

He also plans to retain his law license in hopes of “exploring” other areas of the law, as well as contribute more time to community endeavors.

Epstein serves on the board of Shenango Valley Community Library in Sharon and would also like to volunteer more time in any capacity with organizations such as Red Cross and MCAR.

Epstein was hired as an assistant district attorney in 1976. A decade later he was appointed by county judges Albert E. Acker and Tom Frampton to finish the unexpired term of Sam Orr IV.

In 1988, Epstein ran for the post, defeating fellow Democrat Andrew Miller in the primary and Republican James Stranahan IV in the general election. He never faced opposition after that.

“I was always aware that my job was to seek justice, not merely convictions,” he said. “I hope that I have been able to do that. I would particularly like to think that I’ve brought closure and a sense that justice was done to crime victims and their families.”

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