Williamsport, Pa. – The Lycoming County Court of Common Pleas Judges are recused from presiding over the cases of Matthew and Christine Zeigler, who allegedly abused their eight children for decades.
"...as the above captioned defendant is the wife a Lycoming County attorney who is also her codefendant, all of the Judges of the Lycoming County Court of Common Pleas are hereby RECUSED from any substantive decision making in the matters," President Judge Nancy L. Butts ordered in Ms. Zeigler's case on Jan. 22.
Butts issued a similar order of recusal in Matthew Zeigler's case on Feb. 10.
The orders apply to every Common Pleas judge in Lycoming County: Nancy L. Butts, Marc F. Lovecchio, Joy R. McCoy, Eric R. Linhardt and Ryan M. Tira.
When judges recuse themselves countywide, the case is referred to the Judicial Assignments, Recusals and Senior Judge Program, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
The AOPC program helps reassign cases to judges from other areas.
An AOPC representative from that program was not immediately available to confirm if a new presiding judge has been assigned to the Zeigler cases.
According to the Zeiglers' online docket sheets, their cases are still scheduled for appearances before Lycoming County judges.
The judges' recusals follow a recusal by the Lycoming County District Attorney's Office last year, prompting the Pa. Attorney General's Office to take up prosecution instead.