Magisterial District Judge Valarie Costanzo today announced her candidacy for a seat on the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County.
Costanzo has adjudicated more than 50,000 cases during her courtroom career. She presides over criminal, civil, landlord/tenant, traffic, and summary cases and is responsible for issuing arrest warrants and search warrants.
“With a prolonged vacancy on the court and a backlog of cases, it’s imperative that the county elects a qualified and experienced judge who doesn’t need on-the-job training,” Costanzo said. “For the past 14 years, I’ve been in the courtroom on a daily basis, demonstrating my ability to closely listen to all parties, apply the law in an even-handed way, and render prompt decisions.”
In 1998, Costanzo was appointed district judge by former Gov. Tom Ridge. She was elected to a full term in 1999, and twice won re-election in 2005 and 2011.
Costanzo is a former Washington County assistant district attorney who prosecuted more than 1500 criminal cases. She was instrumental in the development and implementation the county’s “Fast Track Program,” which expediting a criminal case from the preliminary hearing stage to a final plea before the Court of Common Pleas.
Costanzo has been an attorney in private practice for the past 18 years, handling a variety of civil matters.
Costanzo was born and raised in Washington County and is a graduate of Canon-McMillan High School. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh in 1991. Costanzo went on to obtain her law degree from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Law in 1994 and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.
“As a lifelong resident of Washington County, I understand the issues and concerns of the community,” Costanzo said. “I believe that my 18 year legal career, as both a judge and attorney, provides me with a solid foundation to be an efficient and effective judge. “
Costanzo is a member of the Washington County Bar Association and Special Court Judges Association of Pennsylvania. In addition, she is vice president of the Washington County Special Court Judges Association and serves as chairwoman of its Rules Committee.
Costanzo makes her home in Cecil Township with her two sons, Ryan and Justin. They attend St. Patrick Catholic Church in Canonsburg.