Indicted Appeals Judge Seeks Re-Election

A Pennsylvania appellate judge is vowing to run in a November retention election despite federal charges that he filed fraudulent claims with two insurers following a 2001 car crash.

Judge Michael T. Joyce gave a statement to the Erie Times-News saying he will ask voters to approve a second 10-year term, the Legal Intelligencer reports. Joyce was indicted Wednesday on charges of mail fraud and money laundering, according to the legal newspaper.

Prosecutors say Joyce played golf and went scuba diving despite claims that the accident caused such pain he was unable to hold a cup of coffee in his right hand. U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan of the Western District of Pennsylvania told the legal newspaper that Joyce’s initial claim was made on court letterhead.

The government is seeking forfeiture of $440,000 in insurance proceeds.

Joyce says he will prevail in the case. “I’m disappointed in the grand jury’s decision, but I am more confident that when the facts are laid out, it will be clear that these charges have no merit,” he said.

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