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Former Washington County judge lands in Alaska

| Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, 12:02 a.m.

A former Washington County Common Pleas judge under investigation by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office now works for the state of Alaska in a judicial position.

Paul Pozonsky, 57, started as a Worker's Compensation Board hearing officer in October, Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development spokeswoman Beth Leschper said Tuesday.

Leschper did not respond to questions about Pozonsky's qualifications or whether the department was aware of the investigation, which began after Pozonsky issued an order to destroy evidence in 17 criminal cases.

Robert Del Greco, the Downtown attorney for Pozonsky, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Pozonsky will earn about $79,000 annually overseeing and ruling on matters before the compensation board. His North Strabane house sold for $410,000 in November, according to the Washington County Recorder of Deeds.

Pozonsky resigned June 29 after 14 years on the bench, and a month after county President Judge Debbie O'Dell Seneca removed him from hearing criminal cases. He earned $169,541 annually.

According to criminal complaints, the evidence in some of the cases included crack and powder cocaine, heroin, marijuana and at least $2,000 in cash.

On May 2, Pozonsky ordered “any and all evidence related to said cases ... destroyed” because the cases were closed. The four-line order did not specify any of the evidence and did not direct any specific agency to carry out the destruction.

District Attorney Gene Vittone's Office, which didn't seek the destruction order, asked Pozonsky on May 9 to reverse his decision, saying one of the cases still could be appealed. Vittone wrote that a blanket order “would permit the undocumented destruction of such evidence outside the knowledge of a responsible agency and without any documentation of the destruction.”

Pozonsky that day partially vacated his original order, but he also filed paperwork indicating someone — whom he did not identify — destroyed the evidence on May 3.

Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or mharding@tribweb.com.

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