Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Then Again, Maybe Not

Over the last three weeks, we heard from three different sources in Luzerne County that Judge Lokuta was on the verge of cutting a deal to resolve the charges pending against her. We blabbed about it here.

Part of the report said that her trial was imminent and thus the resolution. However, on checking with the Court of Judicial Discipline, we learned that no trial date has been set formally at this time. We then contacted her new counsel about the settlement rumors.

It had been reported in one of the local rags that the Judge had hired Nancy Burdine of the Philadelphia law firm of Pelino & Lentz, P.C., so we contacted her. In reply, we didn't get a no comment -- Ms. Burdine responded that "We do not believe that there is any such arrangement." Now, that's a curious response. It suggests a number of possibilities, some conflicting. But we'll let that answer perc a little as we touch base over the next week or so with some of our former colleagues up there.

One other bit 'o news, Ms. Burdine revealed that Louis Sinatra, a litigation partner in her firm, was the main contact person on the Lokuta case. That makes a bit more sense -- Ms. Burdine, although I am sure extremely capable, is a relatively junior lawyer while Mr. Sinatra has several decades litigation experience.

As far as we could tell, this is the first published confirmation that Judge Lokuta has retained this firm and its lawyers as her new defense counsel.


Freddie L Sirmans, Sr. said...

Just browsing the net, very interesting.

Gort said...

I hope she holds on. Most of the charges are petty. The only one that may stick is using a court employee to perform personal tasks.

Anonymous said...

"As far as we could tell, this is the first published confirmation that Judge Lokuta has retained this firm and its lawyers as her new defense counsel."

Not quite.....

Lokuta dismisses misconduct attorney
Judge Ann Lokuta terminated attorney Sam Stretton from defending her in her misconduct case after learning Stretton is doing work for one of her “lead detractors.”
Saturday, April 21, 2007


A Big Fat Slob said...

No. It is "Quite",Annonymous. You'll need to re-read what I said.

The report of the judge dismissing Stretton was, by then, old news.

This post confirmed the identity of her new lawyers -- something the local rags had been unable to do. Which is why I said "this is the first published confirmation that Judge Lokuta has retained this firm", instead of "this is the first published confirmation that Judge Lokuta has fired Sam Stretton".

Of course, that took some doing and you have to understand that the technique was beyond the grasp of the so-called journalists up there in wilkesberry land -- I sent the rumored new lawyers an email.

By the way, what the alleged newspaper you refer to did NOT tell you in that story you cite -- but which I did -- is that the "lead detractor" for whom Stretton did that fateful work was Lokuta's former law clerk, and then judicial candidate, Tom Marsillio.

I guess that bit was too interesting for the purported journlists on the Time Sleezer to report.

Anonymous said...

Ummmmm, if you read the whole story I posted before, it would have said Lokuta's new lawyer was Louis Sinatra and the lead detractor was Marsilio. How bout reading the whole story before commenting?

A Big Fat Slob said...

Well, I'll have to give that to you.
I don't understand why the story that I saw at the time did not mention Sinatra. But the online version appears to have the reference (I couldn't check from your link as it is beyond the seven-days that the paper allows you to look.)

Anonymous said...

..... and that's why I'll take a newspaper over a blog any day.

Anonymous said...

im sure judge lokuta will fight these charges and she will win.. a slap on the wrist at the most.. all people who want her out, be careful... as far as staffers go, why did they leave and then come back?? thats the part i dont get.. and former lawyers who worked for the judge had an ethical obligation, if judge were so bad, to report it back in 92!! not now.. i question their ethics, not judge lokuta's.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but to remove ANY judge from the bench takes a lot of effort, work, and most importantly, EVIDENCE! To report such incidents in '92 at the beginning of Lokuta's tenure as judge would have done nothing significant. Granted that it has been an extraordinarily long wait for such complaints to become filed, but this is an especially sensitive matter. To remove a judge, especially the county's first female judge, is an enormously difficult task. Those who have filed the complaints would have had to made sure that the evidence brought against Lokuta is sufficient enough to withstand a preliminary hearing and ultimately, remove her from the bench. This misconduct trial is not some spontaneous ploy concocted by (to quote bigfatslob) the "white male asses," on the contrary, this has been an issue that has been gaining momentum over the years.

Anonymous said...

your excused!! i have appeared before judge lokuta and she is the only judge who really seems to care about her work. it will be very hard to remove her from the bench and i dont think "they" will succeed. all of the sudden shes the worst judge ever!! i find that to be comical. baby attorneys who want the money and dont want to work for it!! judge lokuta protects the clients and makes sure they get what their paying for!!

Iain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iain said...

Again, this is not an issue that has suddenly appeared on the docket, but rather it is a controversy that has been gaining momentum over the past few years. Lokuta suddenly never became an awful judge, she was always that from the beginning. She does have a thorough understanding of the law and that is a testament to her qualifications as a judge.

However, her demeanor in and out of the courtroom is the reason why so many are out for her head. If she acted like an actual human being in court and not harass or antagonize everyone who stood in front of the bench then none of these charges would be pressed. Judges do not insult and humiliate the defendents, plaintiffs, lawyers, and court staff (no matter how much they deserve it). Judges do not order their staff to run personal errands. Judges do not cancel court proceedings because they overslept. The list of grievances can go on ad infinitum.

Now judges have a specific title that goes along with the duties and responsibilities of the office...let's see...I don't think I can remember it..."Your something something"...Is it "Your Holiness" maybe? Naw, can't be. "Your Highness" perhaps? Well maybe that's the title Lokuta wants...

Oh, wait....


HONOR: noun, Having several senses, the many of which being nobility of soul, magnanimity, and a scorn of meanness. Virtuous conduct and personal integrity.

Hmmmmm....sounds like the requirements for being a judge.

Judges not only interpret the law but they are also the law itself and must conduct themselves with a sense of professionalism, decency, and decorum. It is a trevesty to the legal system when the Judge acts worse than the defendents in chains standing in front of her. It is an even greater travesty when the said judge happens to be the county's first female judge! (No, I am not attacking aspiring female judges, I am merely pointing out that it is a shame for Judge Lokuta to accomplish such a wonderful feat and then degrade women everywhere because of her behavior)

But hey, why go after Lokuta when all of the "other judges" (I'm still waiting for specific names and instances from the other bloggers) are much more out of control?