10 hours ago
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Here comes da Judge
What, it's noon already?
I've heard the stories about Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas Judge Ann Lokuta sometimes eccentric behavior. If you read the complaint of the state’s Judicial Conduct Board it reads like a script of a bad comedy. Accusing her of not bathing, wearing soiled clothes and yelling at people is petty. The hints about her sexuality interfering with her duties have come up before. A former female clerk had filed sexual harrassment charges in 1999 that weren't proven. When she was up for retention in 2001 the word went out to vote no and she only got 57% of the vote in her favor. The other Judges on the ballot that year received 70%+.
The TL article has the highlights of some of the more outrageous accusations and the CV has some follow-up. The most serious allegation is that she used a court employee as her personal slave:
From 1999 to 2001, Lokuta “misused” worker Judith Flaherty by having her run personal errands on county time, the charges say. Flaherty allegedly had to clean Lokuta’s bathroom, kitchen, hallway, living room, scrub her floor by hand, take her car to the car wash, and do yard work at Lokuta’s home, among other chores. Flaherty was at Lokuta’s home performing the tasks for weeks and months at a time.
But the other shoe will drop in this if it goes to a hearing and it will be fun to hear her side of the story. This charge caught my attention:
Lokuta has also allegedly directed her staff to not interact with other court personnel or judges and continually gives negative commentary from the bench about President Judge Michael Conahan.
A Big Fat Slob has dealt with our local legal system and has concluded we need merit selection of Judges. I agree.