Legal Ethics

Ex-Judge Can't Cite Court's 'Culture of Corruption' in Bid to Regain Job

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Many defendants who may have been adversely affected by the alleged misconduct of two former Pennsylvania judges accused of wide-ranging corruption in office have won new trials or dismissals of the cases against them.

But a sharply divided disciplinary tribunal has refused to grant the same opportunity to a colleague removed from the Luzerne County bench in 2008 due at least in part to her testimony. Ann Lokuta’s bid to regain her job as a county judge was stymied when the state Court of Judicial Discipline decided by a 4-3 vote yesterday that its earlier decision stands, the Citizens Voice reports.

However, she plans to appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, according to her lawyer.

A written dissent by three judges contends that Lokuta’s efforts to show the “culture of corruption that flourished in the Luzerne County Courthouse have been thwarted at every turn by evidentiary rulings.” While the rulings seemed appropriate when made, they now need to be revisited in light of the federal criminal charges subsequently brought against Lokuta’s accusers, according to the dissenters.

Additional and related coverage:

ABA Journal: “Town Without Pity” “Judge Gets Chance to Argue Corrupt Colleagues Orchestrated Her Ouster” “Top Pa. Court Vacates 6,000+ Juvenile Rulings By Ex-Luzerne County Judge” “Top Pa. Court Axes $3.5M Libel Verdict Due to ‘Judicial Impropriety’” “Third Luzerne County Judge Charged with Fraud; Removed From Bench”

Times-Leader: “Court of Judicial Discipline split on Lokuta sanction”

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