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Spessard, Seidle-Patton, Aaron on Ballot for Clarion County Judge of Common Pleas

Thursday, May 9, 2019 @ 08:05 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

judge-raceCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – Three candidates for Judge of the Court of Common Pleas are on the May 21 Primary Election offering varying degrees of legal experiences and giving voters three options.

All three candidates — Mark Aaron, Sara Seidle-Patton, and Erich Spessard — cross-filed and will appear on both the Democratic and Republican ballots.

Erich Spessard feels a judge must represent the steadfast values and principles of the community.

“It is not a position to be taken lightly,” said Spessard. “I greatly admire Judge James Arner, and I truly believe he is the epitome of an impartial arbiter who consistently acts as the conscience of our county.

I sincerely hope to continue the tradition of Judge Arner and those that served before him.”

Spessard has served as Chief Public Defender since 2013, providing the best constitutionally-required representation possible for defendants. He has personally managed over 1,000 criminal cases without the assistance of investigators, detectives, or associates. He also serves on the Criminal Justice Advisory Board, the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Court team, and the Behavioral Health Court team to improve the judicial system for the entire county.

He attended Clarion University and earned his law degree at William and Mary Law School. He worked for a short while at the Allegheny County Public Defender’s office and decided to return to Clarion to plant his “roots.”

“Public defender, much like a judge, demands an unflinching work ethic to keep up with the large caseload and to ensure exceptional quality work,” said Spessard.

“It demands integrity — doing what is right even when it is not easy or popular.

It demands leadership — making tough choices and setting an example for what is just.

It demands compassion — viewing everyone with fairness and honesty, no matter who they are or where they came from.

All of these qualities are part of my character — the core of who I am.”

Spessard said he is dedicated to Clarion County and has lived here for a decade.

“I am dedicated to Clarion County. It is my home.”

He and his wife Miranda live in Clarion with their dogs, Storm and Nebula. Their first child is on the way, and they look forward to raising their family in Clarion County. Local memberships include United Way, the ARC, the Rotary Club of Clarion, and the Clarion Hospital Health Services Board. Miranda is also involved in numerous organizations, including the Clarion Area Young Professionals and Friends of the Clarion Free Library.

“The best judges exhibit integrity, leadership, compassion, and love of community. I aspire to bring these qualities to the bench and to continue the tradition of outstanding judicial leadership in Clarion County,” stated Spessard.

To learn more about Spessard’s campaign, visit

Sara Seidle-Patton began her legal career in Clarion County as Assistant District Attorney for Clarion County and has maintained private law offices in New Bethlehem since 2006 and Clarion since 2008.

She is also a graduate of Duquesne University School of Law.

During her two years as ADA, Seidle-Patton prosecuted cases involving drug offenses, theft, domestic violence, and sexual offenses with minors as victims. She also oversaw the District Attorney’s appellate work, writing briefs to the Pennsylvania Superior Court and working to uphold the challenged convictions obtained by her fellow prosecutors in the office.

Her next step was private practice, and Seidle-PattonSeidle Law P.C. has since grown to employ two additional attorneys and focuses on real estate matters, business law, municipal law, estate planning, and administration.

She has litigated cases in multiple courts throughout Western Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Superior Court.

Seidle-Patton also works in Clarion County’s court system by serving as the County’s Juvenile Public Defender and Domestic Relations Hearing Officer. She is court-appointed counsel in Children and Youth Services cases and has served as chairperson of the Board of Viewers for property cases.

She currently resides on a farm in Clarion Township with her husband, Michael Patton, and their daughter, Samantha. She was born and raised in Clarion and is a graduate of Clarion Area High School and attended Mercyhurst College in Erie, studying journalism and political science, and worked as a staff writer for The Leader-Vindicator in New Bethlehem before enrolling in Duquesne University School of Law in 2003.

In addition to her professional and personal life, Seidle-Patton is involved in numerous community activities, including Clarion Free Library board of directors, President of the Immaculate Conception PTO, and the Clarion Hospital Foundation. She also is a past board member of the Redbank Valley Chamber of Commerce, Redbank Renaissance, and the Clarion County Area Agency on Aging, now acting as solicitor for the agency. Sara Seidle-Patton is a parishioner at Immaculate Conception Church in Clarion where she is a Eucharistic Minister and a member of the Finance Council.

For more detailed information on Seidle-Patton’s career, visit the campaign website at

Mark Aaron, Clarion County’s five-term District Attorney, has served Clarion County for 25 years, first as Public Defender. He tried 117 jury trials in Clarion and surrounding counties including seven homicide cases as both prosecutor and defense attorney.

Aaron also founded Clarion County’s drug task force (CNET), resulting in major arrests and prosecution of drug dealers. In addition to attacking drugs in Clarion County, CNET also reaches outside of the county to drug suppliers who do business in Clarion County.

Aaron helped deliver critical funding to establish the Juvenile Assistant Public Defender and Juvenile Assistant Public Defender positions.  He also fought to protect victims’ service positions critically necessary to victims of domestic violence.

Aaron earned his law degree from Duquesne University School of Law.

His memberships include National Rifle Association (NRA); New Bethlehem Lions Club; Knights of Columbus; New Bethlehem Moose Lodge; The Antler Club of Lucinda; Sons of the American Legion; and New Bethlehem V.F.W (social member).

If elected as judge, Aaron has pledged a renewed urgency to modernize the court calling for “creative solutions to sentencing and probation supervision so when people make the choice to get off drugs our justice system can help them not only become productive citizens again but rejoin their families as mothers, fathers and sons and daughters.” The approach is based on Aaron’s belief in “balancing justice with mercy when possible.”

Aaron was born and raised in Limestone Township and now lives in Frogtown with his wife Dew, the owner of Dimples Delights, a specialty bakery in downtown Clarion. He is a proud graduate of Clarion-Limestone High School where he was a standout on the football field. Mark is a co-owner of the 200-year-old family farm in Crates and an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting with his father and nephews.

“Mark Aaron loves Clarion County,” said a statement on his campaign literature. “It’s where his dad taught him to hunt, and where values of faith, family, and a passion for justice were formed early.”

For more information, go to

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