Former Luzerne Judge Ann Lokuta and the state's judicial conduct system have a lot in common: The people they need to convince the most don't believe them.
Lokuta was the first judge under the current system to be banished from the bench for non-criminal conduct. A case of first impression. But the same system failed to even investigate the worst and most pervasive judicial corruption scandal in Pennsylvania's history.
That alone should tell you all that you need to know about the Judicial Conduct Board and the rest of the state judicial conduct system. It's time to smash it into a million pieces, because when it comes to dealing with true judicial corruption, the system isn't up to the task.
But smashing the JCB and the rest of the system would be redundant in many ways, because it's already been destroyed. The public does not believe in the system. And more importantly, most lawyers and trial judges I've spoken with think something's terribly wrong, too.
In terms of the public's confidence in the system, here's the analogy I'd make: It's like watching an old Pinto endure a thermonuclear explosion. There's nothing left, not even a trace. In this instance the atom bomb was former Luzerne Judge Michael T. Conahan and the 2006 complaint made against him.
If the system's idea of policing the judiciary is to chase Lokuta from the bench while politically powerful judges like Conahan avoid the JCB's scrutiny, who needs them?
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It's Time to Take a Wrecking Ball to Our Judicial Discipline System