The state Court of Judicial Discipline has formally removed former Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Toole, who is serving a prison term on federal tax and corruption charges, from the bench and barred him from ever holding judicial office again.
The court's action, issued in an order last month, is a formality as Toole resigned from the bench after entering a guilty plea in December 2009. The state Judicial Conduct Board, which investigates allegations of ethics violations by judges, filed a complaint with the discipline court in April following Toole's sentencing.
It could not be determined if the board will follow a similar course in the case of former county judge Mark A. Ciavarella Jr., who was sentenced to 28 years in prison on racketeering and other charges last week.
Toole, 51, pleaded guilty to accepting free use of a vacation home from an attorney who won favorable treatment in his court and failing to report a finder's fee from another attorney on his tax returns.
He is serving a 2½-year sentence in a federal prison in Minnesota. His estimated release date, with time off for good behavior, is July 6, 2013.
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Toole Barred From Bench