Luzerne County names Matthews new coroner

				                                Luzerne County Courthouse
                                 File photo

Longtime attorney has county, agency experience

Luzerne County has a new coroner: Jillian Matthews, county Judicial Services and Records Division Head Joan Hoggarth announced Tuesday evening.

The position was open because Francis Hacken resigned on Sept. 9 after highlighting concerns with staffing and funding shortages. Chief Deputy Coroner Joseph Jacobs has been serving as acting county coroner.

Matthews is set to start overseeing the office Oct. 31 and will receive $63,000, Hoggarth said. The coroner position was advertised at an annual salary range of $62,000 to $64,000, and Hoggarth had reviewed five applications.

“Ms. Matthews brings to the Coroner Office over 16 years of investigative and prosecution experience. She has on-scene experience in death investigations and the legal expertise to conduct coroner investigations in accordance with the law,” Hoggarth said in a release.

Matthews most recently worked as a supervising staff attorney for the Domestic Violence Service Center since February.

She previously worked as a county assistant district attorney for 16 years. During that time she was the lead prosecutor on more than 50 trials that included homicides, drug trafficking, assaults, theft and other offenses, Hoggarth said. She also assisted law enforcement with investigations from inception to completion and managed office-wide mental competency cases and a caseload of 150 to 200, the release said. Her assistant DA work also included the presentation of classes and seminars to law enforcement on various legal areas and changes in the law.

Matthews also served as a special assistant U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania from 2014 through 2017, where she assisted full-time assistant U.S. attorneys on various locally based drug prosecutions, the release said.

She graduated from Iona College with a bachelor’s degree in English in 2002 and received her law degree from the University of South Carolina in 2005.

Reach Jennifer Learn-Andes at 570-991-6388 or on Twitter @TLJenLearnAndes.

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