Edinboro professor declares candidacy for Erie County Judge

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Murphy will run for Erie judge

By Karlee Dies
News Editor/Spectator

Elvage Murphy, a professor at Edinboro University and an Erie lawyer, recently announced that he will be running for Erie County Judge. He made the announcement in front of 70 supporters at Edinboro’s Porreco College in the past week.

The retirements of Judges Shad Connelly and Ernest J. DiSantis Jr. have left two seats open on the local bench.

“The one thing I enjoy about this campaign process is really meeting people. There are some absolutely wonderful people in this county. I really enjoy meeting people and it’s been good. It’s tiring but often times, the people are what keep you going,” said Murphy about his recent campaign.

Murphy, who is a Democrat, plans to seek both Republican and Democratic nominations in the May 19 primary.

“In a judicial election, generally most candidates are going to crossfile and I think that sends a very strong message because I think judicial candidates cannot be seen as being predisposed in terms of a particular ideology. Yes, I am a registered Democrat. However, my political affiliation does not dictate what I believe or how I might rule on a particular case because we have to operate with the mindset and prepare ourselves to engage facts as they are presented to us and be able to effectively administer the law as the law exists and to honor it and to certainly fulfill our duties and responsibilities,” said Murphy.

He stated that most other candidates are doing this as well.

“It’s just always been a standard practice as far as I’m concerned when it comes to individuals who are running for judge.”

With the encouragement of his family, the community and other attorneys, Murphy decided that running for judge was the best fit for him.

“For the last 13 years, I’ve really learned the importance of professionalism and competence and temperament and those are really the three essential criteria for any judicial candidate. As I look at over a decade of teaching and practicing law, I’ve been prepared for this and it just took me awhile to understand it and I finally realized that this is a step that I need to take, not for me, but really for our community,” said Murphy.

Currently, Murphy operates a private law practice and is a professor of political science, criminal justice and legal studies. Murphy has been teaching at his alma mater, Edinboro University, for 14 years now.

“For me, it’s been a great fit. It’s been a wonderful opportunity. I absolutely love it. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would end up being a college professor, but I think as you continue to work hard and you continue to sharpen your skill sets, sometimes opportunities will find you. I believe that this is what has happened here and has brought me here,” said Murphy on his career thus far at the Boro.

Prior to this, Murphy served as an Erie County assistant district attorney from Aug. 1995 to Jan. 2001. He was also an Erie County assistant public defender from 2001 to Jan. 2002.

The workload of being both a professor and an attorney has been taxing on Murphy, but he enjoys helping attend to the needs of both occupations.

“The fact that I have been able to do both and do both consistently and I believe extremely well, sometimes my wife and my kids will just sort of look at me and just say, ‘Dad I don’t know how you do it.’ But I just think it’s a passion, it’s a gift, but I’ve been fortunate that I have been able to figure out the right kind of balance,” said Murphy.

“Dr. Murphy is a professor who really cares about students and their success. I think that he is equally committed to running for judge,” stated Edinboro University President Julie Wollman.

With the possibility of Murphy not being around if he wins, students have expressed to him how much they are going to miss him.

“I want students to understand that often times there are things that are placed before you and you have a responsibility to challenge yourself. If you believe you have the ability to be able to do something and do it well for the benefit of a community and others, then you have a responsibility to step up. That’s really all I am doing. Students have been great. I also understand that seasons come, seasons go and life is about growing and change is inevitable and I choose to grow and I choose to adapt. I will always be an Edinboro Fighting Scot.”

“I’ll never leave permanently, but I also understand that being a judge would have to be my top priority. I would have to serve a much greater community. I understand my duties and responsibilities would necessitate that but it would sadden me. There’s no doubt about that but hopefully I can make my alma mater proud. That’s for me, if I can bring them honor by serving in this capacity, then it will be well worth it, but I will figure out a way to continue to remain a thorn in Edinboro University’s side I’m sure,” said Murphy.

Additionally, Murphy has some advice for the students of Edinboro University.

“For any student and any member of the faculty, don’t be fearful. Don’t let fear hold you back. Don’t let comfort or convenience hold you back. Take on risks but when you do it, be purposeful about it. Understand. I just believe there is a calling on everybody’s life. There is a purpose that we are all destined to fulfill and it’s up to us to find that purpose, but you cannot allow fear to hold you back. You just can’t,” said Murphy.

Karless Dies is the news editor for the Spectator. She can be reached by news.spectator@gmail.com