Local auto-parts executive Patrick Judge Sr., former chairman of the state Judicial Conduct Board, will be among the witnesses testifying next month before a state panel probing the kids-for-cash scandal.
The conduct board, charged with investigating and prosecuting allegations of ethical abuses by judges, has come under fire from the panel for failing to investigate allegations against two Luzerne County judges now facing federal racketeering charges. Judge, who shared investments in a Florida condominium and Forty Fort ambulance company with one of the judges, Michael T. Conahan, was a member of the board when some of those allegations were made.
As chairman of the conduct board, Judge voted to proceed to trial with allegations against former county Judge Ann H. Lokuta, who was removed from office in 2008 by the state Supreme Court for mistreating court staffers and attorneys.
Lokuta is seeking reinstatement, arguing the charges against her were orchestrated by Conahan and his co-defendant in the racketeering case, Mark A. Ciavarella Jr. Conahan and Ciavarella, who both testified against Lokuta, are accused of accepting $2.8 million for placing juveniles in two for-profit detention centers.
After voting to proceed with charges against Lokuta, Judge was named to the state Court of Judicial Discipline, which conducted a trial in Lokuta's case. Judge recused himself from the case.
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Ex-Conduct Board Head to Testify in Kids-for-Cash Probe