SHARPSVILLE — After serving for several years as borough council president, John Alfredo is looking to continue his career in public serving by running for district judge.
Alfredo is seeking the post now held by District Judge Dennis Songer, who announced last month that he will retire rather than seek reelection this year. Sharon police Capt. Travis Martwinski has also announced that he will run for the office.
A graduate of Sharpsville High School and the University of Pittsburgh, Alfredo earned his law degree in 1999 from the Duquesne University School of Law. Later that year, Alfredo was admitted to practice law in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania by the state Supreme Court and also in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, according to a press release.
After law school, Alfredo practiced law in the Pittsburgh area before returning to Mercer County. Shortly thereafter, Alfredo served as a law clerk to the then-President Judge, Francis J. Fornelli, and later clerked for then-Judge John C. Reed, the release states.
In 2007, Alfredo opened a law office as a sole practitioner, originally located in Sharon, in office space provided by Attorney Joseph P. Valentino. Alfredo continues to practice law as a sole practitioner in Sharpsville, with over 13 years experience serving Mercer County, the release states.
“Over the years, I worked closely with Attorney Valentino on numerous cases. I owe a lot to Joe,” he said. “If it wasn’t for his kindness and mentorship, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Throughout his career, Alfredo’s areas of practice include criminal defense, child dependency and delinquency actions, protection from abuse, landlord tenant actions, divorce and custody, property disputes, local ordinance violations, truancy and various civil actions, the release states.
Regardless of the area of law, Alfredo said every case is unique and requires both being able to sympathize with the client while explaining to them the legal side of the situation, as well as presenting the client’s case to the judge.
“You have to hear everybody, because everybody has a right to be heard, but at the same time there’s rules, statutory authority, ordinances and things that have to be followed,” Alfredo said.
Alfredo was elected to Sharpsville borough council in 2007, taking office in January 2008 and currently serving his fourth consecutive term in that position, the last eight years as council president. He also serves as a member of the Upper Shenango Valley Water Pollution Control Authority, the release states.
Reflecting on his time with borough council, Alfredo said he was particularly proud of the few tax increases passed by the council over the years while still being able to maintain services for Sharpsville residents.
“We’ve got a good group of personnel, and I’m proud of the workers that we have and the work we do,” he said.
Though there are some differences between serving on borough council and as an attorney, or even a magistrate, Alfredo said the roles are similar in that they require being able to listen to people’s points of view and examine a situation before coming to the most reasonable conclusion, and that doing so requires a great of responsibility.
“There are laws to follow and you’re not an extension of any one party or person, you have to apply the law to the facts and circumstances before you,” Alfredo said.
When deciding to run for magistrate, Alfredo said it stemmed from a love of practicing law and a desire to continue helping people, while ultimately doing the right thing in each case. This year presents a unique challenge though in dealing with the backlog of cases from the temporarily closure of the courts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think it’ll be an ongoing challenge, but I’m willing to accept that challenge,” he said.
Alfredo lives in Sharpsville with his wife Mandy (Asmann) Alfredo and three sons, John, Domenic and Luca. He intends to cross-file for the Democrat and Republican nominations.
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