Former Pennsylvania Judge Wins Rehearing After Claiming She Was Framed By Other Judges Who Recently Pleaded Guilty to Crimes

gavel2Former judge Ann Lokuta has an intriguing claim for reinstatement: her accusers turned out to be criminals. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a stay of the Court of Judicial Discipline’s ruling to remove Lokuta and directed the Secretary of the Commonwealth not to place her judicial seat on the May ballot. Lokuta was removed after several weeks of testimony from dozens of witnesses about her abusive behavior toward courthouse staff and attorneys. However, she claims that the witnesses were part of the recent criminal conspiracy by former president judges Michael Conahan and Mark Ciavarella, who took kickbacks to send kids to jail.

Lokuta insists that she was a whistleblower who Conahan and Ciavarella (and former court administrator William Sharkey) conspired to get rid of. The judges pleaded guilty last month to taking $2.6 million in kickbacks to help the owner and builder of a juvenile detention facility. Sharkey pleaded guilty to stealing more than $70,000 from the county.

The Judicial Conduct Board, however, is skeptical and says that Lokuta is refashioning herself as a whistleblower in a “desperate attempt to impugn the evidence against her.”

She has quite a task in rebutting the evidence. In the original hearing, a high number of witnesses came forward to accuse her of abusive treatment, biased rulings, and using court personnel for household chores. There were 19 witnesses, including 15 attorneys, heard at the hearing.

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8 thoughts on “Former Pennsylvania Judge Wins Rehearing After Claiming She Was Framed By Other Judges Who Recently Pleaded Guilty to Crimes”

  1. As a resident of Wilkes Barre Scranton for number of decades, readers not familiar with the area should know the corruption of the judicial system is an extension of long-time organized crime operating out of this 30 mile radius metro area for decades and many convictions that have ocrrurred in that regard.

    For years the area has had economic distress and what is viewed as a desirable job in the area a public school teacher, often has required in many communities a cash bribe payment ranging from $3,000 to as much as $15,000 to local politicians to obtain the appointment.

    I provide this perspective, not to diminish the despicable judicial conduct of the two convicted judges, and to a lesser extent the alleged bad actions of the one under judicial misconduct case ongoing, but to illustrate just how really bad this abyss of an area really is for those unaware. And it is unfortunate no PA Attorney General has come in to eradicate the extreme and pervasive malfeasance.

  2. Mike,

    Actually, one of the few saving graces of my schooling was how most of my teachers encouraged me to use my wit in writing (just not in class). That teacher was the one of the exceptions.

  3. Gyges,
    Thanks for the quote, it’s now familiar to me since that and “The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions,” were staples my father used to talk to me regarding my school behavior. Re:
    your school anecdote, isn’t so true how subtlety and creativity were not this rewarded in school.

    As I age I’ve come to the realization that it isn’t necessarily political ideology, or organized religion that causes humanity’s ills, but the excesses of people who let their greed and ego drive their actions. We should of course always fight to change things, but the ongoing greater battle is humans with their million odd years history of organizing things into top down hierarchy’s. How we can change ourselves I leave to better minds then mine because I haven’t a clue, yet I believe it is needed to prevent our extinction.

  4. Mike,

    Maybe the whole quote will help “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but ourselves, that we are underlings.”

    I misquoted that in an essay I was forced to write about problems with the public school system, “Help Gaint Aleins are Eating my brains.” My humor was a little too subtle for the teacher, and I got marked down for the misspellings in the title.

  5. Mike Spindell,

    Even when I was in my 50s and in law enforcement, I would have never thought that fellow LEOs–and especially not judges and prosecutors–could be so corrupt. I started visiting this blawg to try to understand this seemingly increasing phenomenon; however, the information here—although invaluable—only reinforces the evidence that leaders in positions of authority are as corrupt, or more so, than common street criminals/thugs; they just use different tools of trade.

  6. The truth is that no matter where you roam we are living in a corrupt society on so many levels. The only saving grace is that most of humanity also lives with this type of corruption.
    The answer is not in the stars, it is within ourselves, to plagiarize and possibly paraphrase a great quote the source of which currently escapes my aging mind.

  7. RC,

    “Set to challenge Illinois”?? You’re experiencing child’s play.
    Illinois has institutional shenanigans!

    Democats and Rethuglicans too, it’s called the columbine.
    Hold your head high RC, the hall of shame here is g i n o r m o u s.
    Three ex governors, have or are serving prison time. Blago has been indicted, impeached twice in one week (the old legislature, and the new legislature) and is awaiting federal prosecution.

    Want to feel better about your judiciary? Look up Operation Silver Shovel.
    Still feel dirty? Look up Operation Family Secrets, sentences are being handed out right now for the convicted in that investigation.

    Show some moxie RC, you don’t say where you moved from, but if it was North Dakota or Louisiana, we still have you covered. 🙂

  8. I moved to PA three months ago. We’ve had a Philly pol (Vince Fumo) convicted of 137 counts of corruption, two judges guilty of railroading teenagers into custody and an abusive judge who treated her staff as serfs. With other pols, including US Rep. John Murtha, under investigation, Pennsylvania seems set to challenge Illinois as the national leader in rotten government.

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