The Right Experience
Heeter attended Clarion University of Pennsylvania where she studied Communications and Political Science. After college, Heeter attended Duquesne University School of Law. While at Duquesne, Heeter worked as a law clerk to Federal District Court Judge Cercone, performing legal research and assisting the judge with drafting opinions. Heeter also participated in the law school’s Economic and Community Development Clinic, helping non-profit organizations attain tax-exempt status. Heeter has continued to provide this service for local non-profit organizations in our community throughout her career.
After law school, Heeter returned to Clarion County and began her career as law clerk to Clarion County President Judge, James G. Arner. In this role, she attended court proceedings and assisted the county judge with a wide variety of legal issues that came before the court including criminal cases, civil litigation, divorce and custody proceedings, evidentiary and procedural issues. Her responsibilities also included assisting the county’s magisterial district judges when needed. This experience enabled her to develop a thorough understanding of the issues faced by the judges of Clarion County and how to approach and resolve them.
Following her clerkship, Heeter became an Assistant District Attorney in Clarion County, handling the prosecution of a wide array of criminal matters from preliminary hearing to trial and sentencing. She successfully obtained convictions in drug, theft, child abuse and domestic partner abuse trials. As an ADA, she also managed criminal appeals before the Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Currently, Heeter is a partner in the law firm of Pope, Drayer, French & Heeter, PC in Clarion consisting of attorneys H. John Drayer (of counsel), Stephen French, Ryan French and Daniel Ferringer and legal staff Linda Maxwell, Jan Shirey, Becca Ehrhart and Trisha Harmon. Heeter has practiced with this firm for over eleven years. Heeter has focused her private practice on real estate, estate planning and administration, civil litigation and oil and gas matters. She has also served as the solicitor to Clarion County Children and Youth Services since 2016.
Heeter regularly serves as decision-maker in judicial proceedings by conducting hearings, receiving and evaluating witness testimony and evidence and making decisions based on applicable law. These are the same functions required of magisterial district judges. Specifically, as Domestic Relations Hearing Officer she makes determinations in child and spousal support cases and as Mental Health Review Officer she makes recommendations regarding inpatient commitments. She has also frequently served on arbitration panels and as a divorce master.
While in private practice, Heeter has practiced before all of the Clarion County magisterial district judges as well as magisterial district judges in Armstrong, Venango, Jefferson, Forest and Butler counties. She has defended clients in magisterial district courts in criminal matters such as preliminary arraignments, preliminary hearings, summary trials, traffic violations and game commission charges. She has also handled civil hearings and pursued civil judgments in the magisterial district courts for businesses, individuals, landlords and tenants.
Heeter has represented clients in civil trials, hearings and arguments in Clarion, Jefferson, Armstrong, Venango, Forest and Butler counties. She has handled appeals before the Pennsylvania Superior and Supreme Courts and the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals.