White-Collar Crime

Ex-judge likely to serve only 30 days for stealing drug evidence from courthouse

  • Print.

A retired Pennsylvania judge was sentenced Monday to as much as 23½ months behind bars for stealing cocaine from evidence from the courthouse in which he formerly worked.

But Paul Pozonsky probably will serve only 30 days, followed by two years of probation, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

The former Washington County Common Pleas judge admitted stealing drug evidence kept in his chambers and pleaded guilty earlier this year to three misdemeanors. In exchange, the government dropped other charges and agreed not to seek prison time. Pozonsky’s lawyer, Robert Del Greco, asked for probation, and Pozonsky himself pleaded for leniency. Referring to himself as “a broken man,” he said his actions have cost him a job he loved, his assets, his family and his reputation.

He also was stripped of a $98,000-a-year pension and lifetime medical benefits as a result of his conviction, the newspaper says.

Judge Daniel Howsare of Bedford County, who is overseeing the case to avoid a potential conflict, said he didn’t want to rub salt into Pozonsky’s wounds. However, some jail time was required, Howsare said, for a judge who founded the county’s drug court and hence knew of available resources for drug abusers, yet “instead decided to use the evidence … to satisfy his drug use.”

Ponzonsky pleaded guilty in March to misapplication of entrusted property, theft by unlawful taking and obstructing administration of law.

The Associated Press and the Tribune-Review also have stories.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Retired judge could lose pension after pleading guilty to stealing cocaine evidence in his cases”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “Judge accused of stealing cocaine from evidence likely impaired, says lawyer in conviction challenge”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.