Former Allegheny County judge withdraws bid to get law license back
A former Allegheny County Common Pleas judge who served nearly 19 months in federal prison for extorting money from an attorney is no longer seeking to get his law license back.
Joseph Jaffe, 62, of Dormont filed a 54-page petition in June asking the state's Disciplinary Board to reinstate his law license and a hearing was scheduled for Sept. 20 on the matter. The Supreme Court disbarred him in 2004. Elaine Bixler, secretary for the board confirmed that Jaffe's attorney, Milton Raiford, this week asked to withdraw the petition.
The Disciplinary Board's Office of Disciplinary Counsel, the prosecutorial arm of the board, opposed the reinstatement along with at least one former colleague on the bench.
Jaffe did not return a call for comment. Raiford said Jaffe needs to continue growing as a person before he's ready to be reinstated. Jaffe is working for Raiford as a paralegal earning $12.50 an hour.
“I think people are always going to have detractors. That's not the reason,” said Raiford, 57, of Churchill. “What I know from working with Joe every day is that he's going through the same process I did in making himself a whole person. I couldn't honestly say he was ready for that and why go through with it if you're not ready?”
Raiford, who was disbarred from 1994 to 2010 after admitting having an impostor pose as a defendant in a drug possession case, said he knows what Jaffe is going through. Jaffe showed up at Raiford's office at Petra International Ministries in Homewood shortly after he was reinstated two years ago.
“He wasn't embraced by a lot of people. Nobody would hire him. He was like a pariah,” Raiford said. “He's a white Jewish guy, but here he is. I'm not going to reject him. I know what it's like.”
Raiford said he pays Jaffe what his small practice can afford.
“It's humbling for him to see those black people come in the church with all their problems. It's a whole new world for him.”
Jaffe became the first Allegheny County Common Pleas judge to be convicted of a felony when he pleaded guilty to extorting $13,000 in cash from attorney Joel Persky to pay off country club fees, medical bills and other debts. Persky was cooperating with the FBI. At the time, Persky's firm had more than 1,300 asbestos cases pending before Jaffe.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Liberty Tunnel set to close; other highway projects around Pittsburgh also to start
- Pitt’s new chancellor Gallagher to continue broad role at school
- Beloved teacher at 3 Western Pa. schools hears from students across nation
- Feds admit cooperation remains obstacle with corporations, cyber threats
- Newsmaker: Brian Stein
- Oakland eatery Fuel & Fuddle to reopen under new owners
- Victim identified in Pleasant Hills apartment fire
- Newsmaker: Shirley Ho
- Foreign influx in Allegheny County at ‘tipping point’
- Corbett christens $960K bus shelter, bicycle station in Robinson
- 30 cited for blocking street at union rally at UPMC facility