PITTSTON — The first two years were busy. The next four years might be busier yet.
Magisterial District Judge Alexandra Kokura Kravitz, who governs District Court 11-1-4 in the Pittston area, is entering her third year in the elected post. Recently, she turned in one of the busiest nights of her magisterial career.
Kokura Kravitz, of Dupont, was tasked with swearing in council members at six different municipalities throughout the Pittston area on Jan. 4. Her night started at the Duryea Borough Building, where she swore in three council members and two constables.
Kokura Kravitz then made stops at Pittston, Jenkins Township, Yatesville, Hughestown and Dupont. That’s a total of about 12 miles throughout the Pittston area. Her first meeting was at 5:30 p.m. with her final meeting at 8 p.m.
It’s all part of the job, she said.
“It’s a true honor for them to call on me and perform that ceremony,” Kokura Kravitz said. “That’s one of the really fun parts of this job. All the reorganization meetings fall on that first weekday and it just happens to be at the same time.”
Over the past two years, Kokura Kravitz has seen an impressive number of cases at City Hall in Pittston. In her first year in office, she saw 6,043 cases. This past year, the judge saw another 5,755 cases. Of those cases in 2015, 3,747 were traffic violations.
In 2015, District Court 11-1-4 collected more than $400,000 for the state. The county received $67,214.85. The court paid back $102,529.40 to municipalities. Avoca led the charge with $20,181.90. Yatesville, the only municipality under Kokura Kravitz’ jurisdiction without a police department, was the lowest with just $83.93.
“We’ve been busy and it’s a good learning experience,” Kokura Kravitz said. “Every day we deal with very passionate people that advocate for their cases and I’m fortunate enough to work with great people across the board.”
Monday’s trek across the Pittston area was Kokura Kravitz’ first day of work in the new year. She did not schedule any cases that day because of her busy evening. Tuesday, however, was a different story when she oversaw 65 cases.
Kokura Kravitz, who is married to Nick Kravitz, has been a new mother for about seven months now, having given birth to Nicholas Kravitz this past year. Since most of her second year in office was spent either pregnant or having a newborn, keeping her personal life and work life separate were key parts to maintaining a working courtroom.
“You kind of keep your personal business personal and you focus on your work,” she said. “It’s hectic and busy, but I take my work very seriously. It’s truly an honor to get up every day to serve in this capacity.”
Kokura Kravitz was sworn into office in January 2014 after becoming the first woman ever elected district judge in the area, having defeated attorney Girard “Jerry” Mecadon for the seat. Kokura Kravitz used an aggressive tactic and a door-to-door campaign to defeat seven candidates in the primary election.
Since then, she’s been presiding over the magisterial duties in the Pittston area. When Kokura Kravitz was sworn in, she was tasked with taking on three new municipalities – Jenkins Township, Pittston Township and part of Yatesville.
Before Kokura Kravitz was district judge, she was the special court master in Lackawanna County, where she presided over family law cases such as child support and custody. A 2000 graduate of Scranton Prep and 2004 graduate of Lehigh University, she graduated from Widener University School of Law in 2009.
One of the most satisfying things the judge sees in the Pittston area is the quality of people. She enjoys seeing each town grow, including the revitalization of Pittston City.
“There’s definitely something in the air around here,” she said. “We’re becoming more aware of our community and the possibilities there are. It’s nice to observe it as a resident and someone that lives here. It’s all positive.”
Over the past year, the judge has performed dozens of marriage ceremonies. Along with the swearing in of council members, they are some of her best moments of the year.
“You’re a part in a small way of someone’s most important day,” she said. “I really appreciate being asked to do it.”
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-602-0178 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick