Midway through her hearing last Tuesday, former Judge Ann H. Lokuta detected a philosophical shift in the approach of the disciplinary panel now considering whether to reinstate her to the Luzerne County bench.
The usually domineering president judge emeritus of the panel, Richard A. Sprague, deferred questioning to the two other judges who heard Lokuta's misconduct case - Lawrence J. O'Toole and Kelley T.D. Streib.
Their questions appeared to focus more on the culture of corruption in Luzerne County than the misconduct charges levied against Lokuta in 2006.
Separately, all three asked Lokuta what she wanted - what sanction she thought would be suitable given the circumstances of her removal last December, the allegations against her and the allegations against the two former Luzerne County judges who testified against her.
There was a renewed sense of equity and fairness in that Dauphin County courtroom, the same chamber where Lokuta practiced as a young attorney nearly three decades ago.
That shift, from a Court of Judicial Discipline that had given her defeat after defeat since the start of the misconduct process, has given Lokuta hope that she will be reinstated.
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