W. Pa. judge retires after dispute with colleagues

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) – An embattled western Pennsylvania judge says she’s retiring after a dispute with colleagues led to a reduction in her authority.

Washington County Judge Debbie O’Dell Seneca’s decision comes weeks after the state Supreme Court removed her as president judge and appointed a replacement to handle her administrative duties.

The Observer-Reporter reports Seneca’s retirement is effective Monday. The newspaper says the 61-year-old told Gov. Tom Corbett of her decision in a Dec. 23 letter but didn’t give a reason.

The Supreme Court appointed Senior Judge Joseph James to take over Seneca’s duties in November after five Washington County judges asked the high court to intervene.

They say communication and court management has vastly improved.

Seneca is in her third 10-year term on the bench.