Washington County Judge Paul Pozonsky, who suddenly resigned from the bench last year amid reports that he was the target of a state grand jury investigation, was charged today by the state attorney general’s office with misappropriating cocaine. Pozonsky appeared this morning at the office of District Judge Robert Redlinger. He returned to Washington County from Alaska, where he moved with his wife after he left the court.
According to a release from the AG’s office, Pozonsky in May 2011 began to request, instruct and insist that police bring to his courtroom cocaine that had been confiscated in drug cases. The cocaine would be entered into evidence and retained by Pozonsky and his staff. In May 2012, state police, under an order issued by President Judge Debbie O’Dell Seneca, excamined the evidence envelopes and found that cocaine was missing or had been tampered with.
Pozonsky’s resignation last June came after he was removed from hearing criminal cases by President Judge Debbie O’Dell Seneca, who also suspended the drug treatment court that he oversaw. That move came after District Attorney Gene Vittone questioned Pozonsky’s court order to destroy evidence related to 17 cases spanning the years 1988 to 2011. Most were drug-related but a few involved violent crimes.
Redlinger arraigned Pozonsky on four counts each of theft and possession of of cocaine; and one count each of restricted activities, misapplication of entrusted property and obstructing the administration of law. He remains free on $25,000 bond. Redlinger placed no travel restrictions on Pozonsky, so he can return to Alaska.
After the arraignment, Redlinger recused himself from the case. It is likely the prosecution will ask O’Dell Seneca to appoint a district judge from another county to preside over his preliminary hearing.
Pozonky had been a judge for 15 years, and before that served as district justice in Cecil Township for 14 years.