Interim suspension sought for judge accused of 'sulking, vindictive behavior' and 'angry demeanor'

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An interim suspension is being sought for a Pennsylvania judge accused of displaying angry and vindictive behavior with court clerks and a prosecutor who successfully appealed one of his decisions.

The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board filed the complaint Dec. 7 against Judge Andrew Hladio of Beaver County, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a press release that includes a copy of the complaint.

Hladio told the Post-Gazette he denied the allegations, but he didn’t believe it was fair or appropriate to comment further “out of full respect for the judicial conduct board process.”

The complaint alleges that Hladio failed to follow policy barring sexual harassment; failed to promote confidence in the judiciary through his treatment of an assistant prosecutor; demonstrated “sulking and vindictive behavior” toward court clerks who complained about him; and failed to follow the law in overweight truck cases.

Hladio began pursuing a clerk identified as “N.B.” after he became a magisterial district judge in January 2010, according to the complaint. He asked her for dates and showed up at public places to be with her, “even though she rebuffed his advances and invitations,” the complaint says.

The court administrator twice warned Hladio about his behavior in 2011, but Hladio promoted N.B. and continued to pursue her in 2012, at one time showing up at her home uninvited, the complaint says. When N.B. refused to go out with him, Hladio “demonstrated sulking, vindictive behavior,” the complaint says. Hladio received warnings again in November 2012, but he began asking the clerk out for dates against in late 2013 and 2014, according to complaint.

When he learned in 2014 that N.B. was dating another man, he “acted in an angry, retaliatory manner,” the complaint says. He sometimes ignored N.B.’s work-related questions, spoke negatively about her and reassigned some of her work.

The complaint also claims that Hladio required an assistant prosecutor who successfully appealed one of his rulings to say, “May it please the court,” before addressing him, though he didn’t require it of others. He is also accused of sometimes ignoring her when she spoke “as if she were not present in the courtroom.”

Hladio is also accused of:

• Advising court clerks that when they are busy, they should not answer phones and should tell customers to come back another day to pay their fines. Court clerks, he allegedly said, should always make him their “number one priority.” According to the complaint, the court clerks were so busy they did not have time to take breaks or go to the ladies room.

• When presiding in cases, demonstrating “an agitated and angry demeanor” and spending “a lot of time looking at his cellphone with his head down.”

• Failing to impose fines for overweight trucks at a level mandated by state law.

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