PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) - The Pennsylvania State Police have charged a western Pennsylvania judge with stealing cocaine from evidence in cases he presided over before he abruptly resigned last year.
According to police, the charges against former Washington County Judge Paul Pozonsky will be prosecuted in Washington County by Senior Deputy Attorney General Michael Ahwesh.
Pozonsky sat on the bench for nearly 30 years, first as a magistrate and then in Common Pleas Court.
The Associated Press could not immediately locate a home telephone for Pozonsky who last year moved to Alaska and was briefly hired there as a worker's compensation hearing officer before he quit amid questions about his residency status. A message left on his wife's cell phone was not immediately returned Thursday.
In May of 2011, Poznosky allegedly began to request that police bring the confiscated drugs into the courtroom. At that time, the drugs would be entered as evidence and then retained by either Poznosky or his staff.
A year later in May of 2012, state police investigators looked at the evidence envelopes and discovered cocaine was missing or had been tampered with.
KDKA's Paul Martino: "What this looks like, is a sitting judge accused of snorting evidence - cocaine?
Bob Del Greco, Pozonsky's attorney: "I think that's a fair representation of the allegations."
Pozonsky was arraigned Thursday morning.
Martino: "Do you have reason to believe that he has a drug problem? Has he gone to rehab?
Del Greco: "I… I'm really not in a position to discuss with any particularity the allegations now."
Poznosky is facing a list of charges including, theft, possession and misappropriation of entrusted property.
"This is troubling. This is humbling as you might expect," said Del Greco. "And it's a serious matter and he's taking it as such."
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