Bucks County President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley announced that former Montgomery County Chief Public Defender Stephen G. Heckman, Esq. joined the Bucks County Office of Court Administration as court administrator on April 1, 2016. Heckman, who brings three-and-a-half decades of legal experience to the position, will replace the retiring Douglas R. Praul, Esq. in that capacity.
“I will miss Doug Praul, his advice and guidance as court administrator,” said President Judge Jeffrey L. Finley. “I have enjoyed working with Doug while relying on his knowledge of our courts and personnel. Meanwhile, Steve joins us with a great deal of experience as a prosecutor and defense attorney. His role at Public Defender in Montgomery County makes him an expert on budget and administrative matters. We are excited to have him here.”
Mr. Heckman earned a B.S. in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University and graduated with a J.D. from Temple University Law School in May, 1981. He served as judicial law clerk for the Hon. William H. Yohn, Jr. in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas from 1981-83 and as an assistant district attorney for the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office from 1983-86. He has practiced general litigation law with multiple firms and served as assistant public defender in Montgomery County from 1995-2008. From January, 2008-March, 2012, he served as chief public defender for Montgomery County – overseeing a department with 37 full and part-time attorneys.
Mr. Heckman also served on the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) Panel for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, a role he maintained from 1993-2016 with seven reappointments. He represented indigent federal criminal clients in cases where the Federal Defender’s Office had a conflict of interest.