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District Judge Rapp Will Not Seek Re-Election

He is retiring after 25 years serving Fountain Hill and Salisbury Township

After 25 years as magisterial district judge in Salisbury Township, Anthony G. Rapp said he will not seek re-election and will retire sometime this year.

"It's time," said Rapp, who turned 65 this year.

Rapp has served four terms as a magisterial district judge in district court 31-0-08, which also serves Fountain Hill Borough.

Rapp, who had five heart bypasses  in 1994, recently had three stents replaced in January. 

"It was my clue to get out and enjoy life before it's too late," he said.

Rapp, who sports a miniature golf bag tie tack and has an office strewn with golf trophies and trinkets, said he plans to play a lot of golf in retirement. He said he has a 12 handicap.

Rapp said he would not be able to fill out the six-year term if he were re-elected because district judges have a mandatory retirement age of 70.

"I don't feel that would be fair to the voters," he said.

Rapp was first appointed district judge in 1986 by then-Governor Dick Thornburgh.  He ran and won in 1987 and was elected three more times.

He said the highlight of his career was in 1995 when he arraigned brothers Bryan and David Freeman and their cousin Nelson Birdwell in the notorious stabbing and beating death of the Freemans' parents and younger brother. Rapp was also the judge in their preliminary hearing.

He said the best part of his job has been when he is able to help people, especially youth offenders.

"I always got lot of satisfaction getting them back on track and seeing them in later years all straightened out and doing well," he said.

Rapp will work as a senior district judge after he retires, which means he can fill in for district judges in other parts of the state.

Before becoming a district judge, Rapp worked two jobs as a police officer for Bethlehem Steel and Fountain Hill Borough.  He was a Navy petty officer third class and served in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968 during the Tet Offensive. Rap was an air intelligence specialist for helicopter search and rescues.

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