Lowe had approved the request in April. He issued a written opinion on the case last week at the request of the Pennsylvania Superior Court, where the McAndrew case is being appealed.
After a 13-month investigation by Abington police and Montgomery County detectives, McAndrew, 54, an Abington television consultant, was charged with the March 1985 slaying of his wife, Marjorie, 57, in their Abington home.
McAndrew was held for 13 days in Montgomery County Prison but was released after Peterson ruled that prosecutors had not presented sufficient evidence linking McAndrew to the slaying to hold him for trial.
Prosecutors said they wanted to rearrest McAndrew and asked Lowe to assign a new district justice, because, they said, Peterson was predisposed to release McAndrew.
On April 30, Lowe assigned Pottstown District Justice Charles A. Dasch to the case, but McAndrew's attorney appealed to the Superior Court.
In his ruling, Lowe said, "Peterson's predisposition is clearly evidenced by his statements prior to hearing the evidence that he would dismiss the charges. Furthermore, his statement that he dismissed the charges because the Commonwealth failed to present direct evidence demonstrates his misunderstanding of the law.
"Peterson's alleged statement that he dismissed the case because no direct evidence was presented evinces his misapprehension of the relevant law," Lowe added. "Inasmuch as the Commonwealth has presented evidence establishing District Justice M. William Peterson's predisposition, his lack of understanding of the relevant law and his intent to recuse himself if reassigned to the case, the temporary appointment (of a new district justice) was properly granted to insure fair and impartial proceedings and the efficient administration of justice."
McAndrew's attorney, George F. Schoener Jr., declined to comment on the ruling. Members of the district attorney's office were unavailable for comment.
But Peterson had plenty to say of Lowe's ruling.
"I'm surprised that Judge Lowe would make the same mistake that the district attorney did by reading a statement out of the newspaper that I said there was no direct evidence, when I never made that statement," Peterson said. "And I defy anybody to bring up corroboration that I made that statement.
"I said there was not sufficient evidence to hold him for trial. I never mentioned the word direct, since this case was circumstantial from the start. So Judge Lowe made the same mistake the prosecutors did. You can't believe everything you read in the newspaper."
Peterson said that after he dismissed the case against McAndrew, "I talked to every Abington policeman that was here that day of the hearing, and not one of them said that I should have sent it to court. It was so poorly presented by the prosecutor. One officer said the closing statement (by assistant prosecutor William Carpenter) was so bad that he wanted to run up and help the prosecutor, but he figured if it got thrown out, he would have gotten blamed for it."
Peterson declined to identify the officer. Abington Police Detective Thomas McNamara, who is leading the continuing McAndrew investigation, was unavailable for comment this week.
In another development, the state Superior Court recently denied the prosecutor's request to speed up oral arguments on the appeal for a new district justice to hear the case if McAndrew is rearrested. Oral arguments are expected to begin by the end of the year.