Story Archive

Double Dipping

Paul Pozonsky, 59, served for 30 years as a magistrate and then Common Pleas Court judge in Washington County, Pa. During a grand jury investigation, it was discovered that the seals on several evidence bags in his chambers had been broken, and cocaine had been swapped out with baking soda. Judge Pozonsky was hearing drug cases, while he himself was addicted to cocaine. When the cocaine was discovered missing, the judge retired, and he was charged with felony conflict of interest, theft, and drug possession. His defense attorney says the judge has been “clean and sober for going on four years now.” Pozonsky has pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor charges — theft by unlawful taking, obstructing administration of law, and misapplication of entrusted property — in exchange for the other charges being dropped. Prosecutors have said they won’t ask for jail time, but that doesn’t mean he gets off easy: the judge in the case could sentence Pozonsky to up to six years in jail. “The three charges to which Pozonsky pled guilty provide the judge with plenty of discretion for sentencing,” said a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General, “and two of them could result in pension forfeiture under the law.” The loss of Pozonsky’s pension is a “probable collateral consequence” of the plea deal, agrees his attorney. The judge’s pension was not disclosed, but is estimated to be $96,000 per year after his 30 years of service. He won’t be sentenced for three months — by a judge brought in from another county. (RC/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) ...If he was judging his own case in his own courtroom, what would his sentence be?
Original Publication Date: 12 April 2015
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 21.

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