59-year-old Paul Pozonsky, a former judge from Western Pennsylvania, was sentenced to 30 days to two years in jail for stealing cocaine. He pled guilty in March to charges stemming from directing that cocaine meant for police custody be stored in his chambers. Pozonsky then used the cocaine to feed his addiction to the drug.
Pozonsky was a 28-year veteran of the judgeship – first at the district court level and then for Washington County. As irony would have it, he helped establish the county’s first drug court, which focused on sentencing people with legal issues related to addiction.
Pozonsky pled guilty in March to the theft, misapplying government property, and obstruction of justice charges brought against him. He asked the court for leniency due to his lack of a prior record and the punishment that his charges had already brought upon him. Pozonsky has lost his pension and the medical benefits because of his guilty plea.
In 2012, Pozonsky abruptly resigned his position and moved to Alaska near his wife’s family. He was charged the following year. His wife left him and he is now living with his parents back in Pennsylvania, and undergoing treatment for cocaine addiction.
The fact that Pozonsky had often given addicts the opportunity to seek treatment as an alternative to hard time was not lost on Senior Judge Daniel Howsare, who presided over the case from neighboring Bedford County to avoid Pozonsky’s colleagues from having to do so.
Howsare indicated because Pozonsky was aware that he had access to help if he needed it meant that his choice to use his position to obtain illegal substances required punishment. Pozonsky may be moved to another jurisdiction to serve his time since there is a strong possibility the Washington County jail houses inmates that he sentenced as a judge.
Regardless of the crime a person is charged with, they are entitled to a fair trial. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can advocate for law enforcement personnel and even former judges during criminal trials.
Ex-judge gets short jail term for taking coke from evidence, www.njherald.com, AP, 13 Jul 13 2015