An anonymous complaint accusing two former Luzerne County judges of “glaring” ethical violations “didn’t raise a red flag” with the state Judicial Conduct Board because it appeared to have been authored by a courthouse insider, the current chairman of the board said.
“In my mind, there’s so much detail in what we got — even in its condensed form — it was someone within the court system who wrote that — not an outsider who was angry at so and so,” John R. Cellucci told a state panel.
The complaint, accusing former Judges Michael T. Conahan and Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. of nepotism, cronyism and case fixing, “didn’t raise a red flag, in my opinion, that we’ve got to get on this immediately,” Cellucci said.
The timing of the complaint led conduct board members and staffers to immediately suspect it had been authored by former Judge Ann H. Lokuta, Francis J. Puskas, the board’s deputy chief counsel, said earlier.
The complaint arrived at the conduct board’s office on Sept. 28, 2006, a day after a deadline for Lokuta to accept a plea bargain in her own misconduct matter.
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