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Washington County judge not required to explain order for search

| Friday, June 13, 2014, 7:51 p.m.

Washington County President Judge Debbie O'Dell Seneca does not have to explain why she allowed investigators to search the chambers of another judge.

That search led to allegations that Paul Pozonsky, 58, who has since retired and lives in Alaska, stole cocaine evidence while presiding over criminal cases. He is charged with conflict of interest, theft, obstruction of justice, drug possession and misapplying entrusted government property.

Defense attorney Robert Del Greco Jr. asked Bedford County Senior Judge Daniel Lee Howsare earlier this month to order O'Dell to explain her decision in court.

Del Greco maintains that prosecutors lacked probable cause to search Pozonsky's office and went to O'Dell Seneca seeking an administrative order in what he has termed a “covert, deliberate measure” to circumvent Pozonsky's civil rights.

Caroline Liebenguth, a lawyer with the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts who represented O'Dell Seneca, argued that judges are protected from being compelled to testify about judicial matters to “protect the integrity of the judicial system.”

Howsare quashed the subpoena for O'Dell Seneca on Thursday and gave lawyers until the end of the month to present further evidence in the suppression hearing.

“We will certainly abide by the ruling and move on,” Del Greco said on Friday. “We still believe we have a meritorious suppression.”

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or at mhasch@tribweb.com.

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