Pittsburgh, PA — A judge who was in charge of a special drug treatment court faces charges that he allegedly stole cocaine that had been seized as evidence in criminal cases.
Washington County Common Pleas Judge Paul Pozonsky retired last July when the grand jury investigation into his activities was pending. Prior to stepping down from the bench, he reportedly often demanded that the drugs be delivered to his courtroom in advance of pre-trial hearings which is a highly unusual practice. The judge allegedly held on to the drug evidence after the hearings finished and reportedly stored what amounted to hundreds of grams of coke a in file cabinets in his chambers. “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.”
Pozonsky faces a raft of misdemeanor charges including “eight counts of theft, four counts of possession, one count of misapplication of entrusted property and one count of obstruction … he is also charged with felony conflict of interest, a violation of state ethics law.” He was released on $25,000 bond yesterday and is due back in court on June 13.
Apparently the former judge specifically got into trouble for ordering the destruction of drug evidence in 18 cases which raised all kinds of red flags among law enforcement officials. “Inside a locked filing cabinet in his chambers, investigators found none of the drug evidence from five cases listed in the destruction order. When they pulled evidence on three other cases, they found that evidence seals had been broken and that, in some cases, drugs were either missing or replaced with something else.”
Pozonsky subsequently moved to Alaska where he briefly worked as a workers’ compensation hearing officer until he resigned when Alaska officials got wind of the Washington County allegations.
Watch a local news report on the Judge Paul Pozonsky allegations: