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A former judge was disbarred as a result of engaging in criminal activity by stealing cocaine from evidence in the cases he was presiding over and using the cocaine for his own recreational purposes--all while continuing to preside over criminal prosecutions and imposing sentences on defendants for committing crimes which he himself was contemporaneously engaging in.
Paul Michael Pozonsky was a commissioned judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Pennsylvania, who had presided over criminal trials, juvenile delinquency hearings, and also directed the rehabilitative disposition of drug offenders in that county's Drug Court, which he founded.
Using his position as a jurist, Pozonsky directed police officers and court personnel to bring cocaine, which was evidence in the cases over which he was presiding, to an evidence locker in his courtroom; whereupon, for over a year, he stole quantities of this illegal drug from that locker and used it for his own recreational purposes, all while continuing to preside over criminal prosecutions and imposing sentences on defendants for the same crimes.
After Pozonsky's illicit activities were discovered, he resigned his judicial commission and was convicted for his crimes. After considering all the relevant facts and circumstances surrounding Pozonsky's egregious misconduct while a commissioned judge, and taking into account the mitigating evidence he offered, the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania issued a unanimous report detailing its factual findings and its recommendation that he be disbarred. The Supreme Court in fact disbarred Pozonsky upon finding that the evidence of record amply supported the Board's findings and corresponding recommendation of disbarment.
Lexis subscribers can access the full opinion at: Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Pozonsky, 2018 Pa. LEXIS 372 (Pa. Jan. 18, 2018)
Lexis Advanced subscribers can access the full opinion at: Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Pozonsky, 2018 Pa. LEXIS 372 (Pa. Jan. 18, 2018)
Author: Gabriela N. Nolen, Lexis-Nexis Case Law Editor
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