Who's DA? 2 claim the office as own, clouding prosecutions

An unusual struggle for control of a Pennsylvania district attorney's office has landed in court. The outcome will likely ripple across most of the state and, potentially, spur appeals by criminal defendants.

Marion O'Malley took office Feb. 5 as the Susquehanna County DA. Her tenure is being challenged by William Urbanski, who briefly served as DA before a judge ruled him ineligible and installed O'Malley instead. Urbanski is suing to get the job back, saying the judge misinterpreted the state's residency requirement. 

The state Supreme Court could ultimately decide the case.

One lawyer says he expects that if O'Malley is removed, defense lawyers will claim her actions in office were invalid. O'Malley says the same could hold true of Urbanski's tenure.

The first hearing in the case is March 5.