For the first time in decades, Derry Township officially has a new district judge as Kelly Tua Hammers was sworn in Monday.

Hammers, 50, was appointed in October by Gov. Tom Wolf to fill out the remaining two months in the term of Magisterial District Judge Mark Bilik, who retired in August.

Bilik had been hearing cases as a senior judge. Hammers will start work Tuesday and begin hearing cases on Wednesday.

A Democrat from Derry Township, Hammers was elected to a full six-year term earlier this month to serve as magisterial district judge. She ran unopposed on the November ballot after defeating two candidates in the spring primaries. Her full term will begin in January.

Hammers worked as an assistant county prosecutor in the Westmoreland County District Attorney’s office since 1997. She specialized in prosecutions of sexual assaults, civil asset forfeiture cases and juvenile offenses. She also served as an instructor for the Municipal Police Academy at Westmoreland County Community College, where she taught criminal law, civil law, search and seizure and legal updates.

A Derry Area Senior High School graduate, Hammers also earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and got her law degree from Dickinson School of Law.

Also beginning her post as magisterial district judge in January is Tamara Mahady, 32, of Latrobe, who will replace her cousin, long-time Magisterial District Judge Michael Mahady in Unity Township. Tamara Mahady worked as an assistant in the Westmoreland County Public Defender’s office.

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