DUNCANSVILLE - Magisterial District Judge Fred B. Miller of Tyrone made several proposals Wednesday when announcing his candidacy for a judgeship on the Blair County Court of Common Pleas.
Miller, 42, is leading an effort to begin a Veterans Court at the magisterial district judge level and hopes that can be up and running by this spring.
He said, however, that as a judge on the county court, he would like to see a Veterans' Treatment Court established to help veterans who are in court for more serious offenses as they attempt to overcome "addiction, mental illness and other disorders."
Addressing another subject that is being discussed by county officials, Miller said he supports the establishment of a Mental Health Court.
"The number of cases involving defendants with mental issues continues to grow. Nonviolent offenders who commit low-level offenses need treatment options in order to create a treatment plan to reduce repeat offenders," he told more than 100 supporters who gathered at Marzoni's restaurant near Duncansville for his announcement.
Miller said he wants to streamline the county's Protection-From-Abuse system and said he will propose a "One Family, One Judge Policy."
"It makes sense to have the same judge hear all matters related to families or parties having disputes," Miller stated.
Miller became the fourth candidate in the past week to declare his candidacy for judge in Blair County.
Miller, Blair County attorney David P. Andrews and Blair County Deputy District Attorney Wade Kagarise will compete on both the Republican and Democratic ballots for a seat vacated by Judge Hiram A. Carpenter, who retired this week after 23 years' service.
Common Pleas Judge Elizabeth Doyle will run for retention after a decade on the bench.
Miller was introduced by Altoona business leader Fred Imler and former State Rep. and Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Sam Hayes Jr. Both men, Miller said, have been instrumental in his life.
Hayes said Miller has gone the extra mile in addressing those problems, not just in court, but in traveling to the local schools to discuss the problems of alcohol and drug abuse with the young people.
"You and I have seen Judge Miller. This is not a person who is asking for training. He has been a judge," said Hayes.
Miller said, "I believe one of the most significant qualities I bring to the job is judicial experience. ... I have decided thousands of criminal and civil cases, from traffic offenses to homicide hearings, from contract disputes to emergency protection-from-abuse orders."
Miller has a degree in finance from Penn State and a law degree from Penn State Dickinson Law School.
His wife, Tracy, and son, Grant, attended Wednesday's announcement.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.