Sunday, June 4, 2017

Cosby Drama's Cast of Players: The Judge

Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill is presiding over the trial of entertainer Bill Cosby, who is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his Cheltenham home after plying her with blue pills and wine more than a decade ago.
Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O;Neill/Submitted Photo

O’Neill, who is currently the administrative judge for the criminal division of the 22-member bench, was appointed to the county bench in April 2002 by then Governor Mark S. Schweiker and was sworn in on July 29, 2002, as a county judge, according to his biography. 

O’Neill was then elected to a 10-year term in 2004 and was retained for another 10-year term in 2014.

O’Neill, a 1975 graduate of Drexel University who received his law degree from Villanova University in 1978, has been assigned to the criminal division since 2007 and presently serves as its administrative judge.

Additionally, O’Neill serves as the administrative and presiding judge of the county’s drug treatment court. O’Neill launched the drug treatment court and has overseen its operation for more than 10 years.

Prior to becoming a judge, O’Neill, who is married and has three grown children, served as a county solicitor as well as a solicitor for the zoning hearing boards of Lower Merion and Upper Merion townships. Judge O’Neill also served as an assistant district attorney for Montgomery County from 1979 to 1984.

O’Neill previously presided over some high-profile local trials, including that of Raghunandan Yandamuri, 30, an Upper Merion man who was convicted of first-degree murder by a jury in October 2014 in connection with the Oct. 22, 2012, deaths of 61-year-old Satyavathi Venna and her 10-month-old granddaughter, Saanvi, during a botched kidnapping at The Marquis apartment complex in Upper Merion.

In November 2014, O’Neill formally sentenced Yandamuri to death for the murders.

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