While most voters in York County will see only one name on the November general election ballot for district judge, voters in at least one area will see two.

Two candidates are vying for a seat held by District Judge Kim Leppo, who is retiring in January. Leppo's office covers North Codorus, Codorus, Manheim and Heidelberg townships as well as Jefferson, New Salem and Seven Valleys.

The seat will be filled by either York County senior deputy prosecutor Thomas Reilly or retired Northern York County Regional Police officer Daniel Press.

In the primary, Reilly received the most Republican votes and Press, a registered Republican, prevailed among Democrats. Candidates for district justice are allowed to file to run on both parties' ballots in the primary.

Having spent the better part of their working lives in criminal justice, both Press, 56, and Reilly, 43, said they have what it takes to be a district judge.

Reilly: With experience as a defense attorney and a prosecutor, Reilly said as a district judge he would give "a fair and impartial ruling of the law" to those who stand before his bench.

He said he also has experience practicing civil law.

The North Codorus Township resident graduated from Dickinson School of Law in 2001 and from Penn State University in 1998 with a bachelor's degree in the administration of justice.

Before attending law school, he worked at the Clearfield County Jail as a guard, work-release coordinator and, eventually, as deputy warden.


Since 2004, Reilly has worked as a prosecutor in the York County District Attorney's Office.

Press: Press began his 34-year career as a police officer in Windber, Somerset County, in 1977. He joined the Northern York County Police Department, where he served as a patrolman and detective, in 1979. Press retired in September 2010.

In hopes of winning the election, Press said he took Minor Judiciary Education Board classes earlier this year and received his certificate. In order to serve as a district judge, individuals who aren't members of the Pennsylvania Bar must take and pass the course, which is mandated by the state's constitution.

"I wanted to get the class under my belt," Press said.

As a district judge, Press said, he'd like to work with schools within the court's jurisdiction to create a program that would give youth insight into the justice system.

He said such a program would spur interest for those considering a career in law and help deter youths heading down a road to a criminal lifestyle.

"It (would) give them principles ... to help them have more of a focus," Press said.

-- Reach Greg Gross at 505-5434 or ggross@yorkdispatch.com.