In 2018, Manwaring presided when a Bethlehem couple disputed an overtime parking ticket. Their meter malfunctioned and they were unable top use their credit card. This malfunction was actually confirmed by a Parking Authority officer. Manwaring, described by the couple as both angry and condescending, demanded they explain why they used no coins. They didn't have any. Though he had no choice but to acquit the accused, he nevertheless ordered the couple to pay court costs of $57.25. Moreover, he insisted they do so before leaving his mini-courtroom. This glitch was no fault of the taxpayer, he illogically reasoned.
Unfortunately for Manwaring, President Judge Michael Koury got wind that court costs had been imposed on an innocent Defendant. He directed Manwaring to refund the money, which is demanded by both statute and this little thing called the Constitution.
Manwaring complied, but I have since heard that he has complained several times about being rebuked, stating to people he thinks are his friends that the President Judge is wrong.
In addition to thinking he knows more than the President Judge, Manwaring also thinks his understanding of financial controls is superior to the Controller. In a recent audit, he was tagged for allowing constables to access the secretarial area in violation of a directive from the Court Administrator. The reason for this sound policy is to deter access to cash and financial records. Manwaring refused to comply, noting that he can answer to the voters.
He's going to have to answer. Longtime Bethlehem resident Will R. Carpenter, a Democrat, is seeking a nomination for Manwaring's seat. Carpenter has lived in the District, located in Bethlehem’s Northside, for over 20 years.
A graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Applied Economics, Carpenter spent his career working in real-estate and development, negotiating contracts and working with people from all walks of life. In his announcement, he said he "will bring good common sense, consistent, impartial reading of the law while offering dignity and respect to all who enter the courtroom." “My approach would be to apply the law evenly, to honor and respect both our law enforcement professionals and our community members,” he says.
Will lives with his wife and two daughters, both proud Liberty graduates.
Carpenter was unsuccessful in a 2019 bid for City Council.