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Luzerne County

Luzerne County is located in the northern area of Pennsylvania called “The Coal Region”.  When William Penn arrived in Philadelphia at the end of the 17th century, only a small fraction of the Iroquois remained in the Wyoming Valley.  The Iroquois granted permission to several other tribes, including the Delaware, to settle along the banks of the Susquehanna River because the Iroquois knew they didn’t have sufficient numbers to do so themselves.  This area of Northeastern Pennsylvania is called the Wyoming Valley because the Delaware referred to the Great Plains on both sides of the river as “Maugh-wau-wa-me,” which the early English settlers garbled into “Wyoming.”

The Pennsylvania General Assembly created Luzerne County on September 23, 1786 and named it in honor of Chevalier de la Luzerne, the French minister to the United States during the latter stages of the Revolutionary.  Its county seat is Wilkes-Barre.  The area is steeped in historical events.  In 1897, Sheriff James Martin formed a posse and went after a group of unarmed miners in what is now known as the Lattimer massacre.   This act gives Luzerne the infamous reputation for being the last county whose Pennsylvania lawman legally formed a posse to restore order in a time of civil unrest.  Nearly forty years later, the right arm of Hughestown, Pennsylvania resident, Harry Tompkins, was crushed by an Erie Railroad train in 1934.  The resulting U.S. Supreme Court case, Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins laid the foundation for a large part of modern American civil procedure and Pennsylvania law.

Pennsylvania lawyers practicing law in Luzerne County specialize in various niches of the law, including areas like bankruptcy law, employment law, personal injury law, immigration, family law, medical malpractice law, workers compensation law, and even criminal law.  Criminal law involves, logically enough, crimes committed by one party against another and are broken up into two subsets:  felonies and misdemeanors.  Felonies are larger offenses that typically result in harsher punishments.  Misdemeanors are smaller offenses that yield sentences that are not quite as harsh.  It is recommended that defendants retain one of the many experienced Pennsylvania lawyers practicing criminal law to represent them no matter which type of crime they have been accused of committing.

Most people aren’t really sure what just what differentiates criminal law from civil.  For one thing, civil lawsuits are certainly a lot less exciting, with much lower stakes for the defendants, both nationally and here in Pennsylvania.  Lawyers representing criminal cases often hold their clients’ lives in their hands–literally.  Losing a criminal case can bring on serious prison time, and sometimes even the death penalty.

Criminal law involves, logically enough, crimes committed by one party against another and are broken up into two subsets:  felonies and misdemeanors.  Felonies are larger offenses that typically result in harsher punishments.  Misdemeanors are smaller offenses that yield sentences that are not quite as harsh.  It is recommended that defendants retain one of the many experienced Pennsylvania lawyers practicing criminal law to represent them no matter which type of crime they have been accused of committing.

Defendants in civil cases, however, are never subject to punishments as severe as those handed down in criminal cases, no matter the type of crime charged.  They will not serve jail time if found guilty in a civil trial and definitely won’t ever face the death penalty.  The most common penalties handed out in civil court are monetary damages, with defendants being held responsible to reimburse the plaintiffs in an amount comparable to the loss they have suffered directly resulting from the defendant’s actions.  The amount actually awarded is usually determined by the judge and/or jury and can include punitive damages as well as those for pain and suffering.  Additionally, defendants will be held liable to pay any legal fees the plaintiff has incurred on behalf of their Pennsylvania lawyers.

In a criminal case, the burden of proof is higher than in a civil lawsuit.  The prosecution must demonstrate through evidence that the defendant is guilty of the accused crime beyond a reasonable doubt.  If the defense, on the other hand, shows that there is even a shred of reasonable doubt, the defendant will typically be found not guilty.  The word “typically” is used because, as Pennsylvania lawyers who practice criminal law can attest, just about anything is possible in the jury system!

Pennsylvania law provides for four types of incorporated municipalities:  cities, boroughs, townships, and, rarer cases, towns.  Below are listed the cities, boroughs and townships located in Luzerne County:

Cities

  • Hazleton
  • Nanticoke
  • Pittston
  • Wilkes-Barre

Boroughs

  • Ashley
  • Avoca
  • Bear Creek Village
  • Conyngham
  • Courtdale
  • Dallas
  • Dupont
  • Duryea
  • Edwardsville
  • Exeter
  • Forty Fort
  • Freeland
  • Harveys Lake
  • Hughestown
  • Jeddo
  • Kingston
  • Laflin
  • Larksville
  • Laurel Run
  • Luzerne
  • Nescopeck
  • New Columbus
  • Nuangola
  • Penn Lake Park
  • Plymouth
  • Pringle
  • Shickshinny
  • Sugar Notch
  • Swoyersville
  • Warrior Run
  • West Hazleton
  • West Pittston
  • West Wyoming
  • White Haven
  • Wyoming
  • Yatesville

Townships

  • Bear Creek Township
  • Black Creek Township
  • Buck Township
  • Butler Township
  • Conyngham Township
  • Dallas Township
  • Dennison Township
  • Dorrance Township
  • Exeter Township
  • Fairmount Township
  • Fairview Township
  • Foster Township
  • Franklin Township
  • Hanover Township
  • Hazle Township
  • Hollenback Township
  • Hunlock Township
  • Huntington Township
  • Jackson Township
  • Jenkins Township
  • Kingston Township
  • Lake Township
  • Lehman Township
  • Nescopeck Township
  • Newport Township
  • Pittston Township
  • Plains Township
  • Plymouth Township
  • Rice Township
  • Ross Township
  • Salem Township
  • Slocum Township
  • Sugarloaf Township
  • Union Township
  • Wilkes-Barre Township
  • Wright Township

Census-designated places

Census-designated places are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law, but are compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau in order to compile demographic data.  Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, are sometimes categorized here as well.

  • Back Mountain
  • East Berwick
  • Glen Lyon
  • Mountain Top

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