Share This Page

Ex-Washington County judge quits Alaska hearing officer post

| Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

A former Washington County Common Pleas judge resigned from a judicial position in Alaska last week after reporters began asking his superiors about an investigation of him by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.

Paul Pozonsky resigned Thursday as a Worker's Compensation Board hearing officer, according to an email from Greg Cashen, assistant commissioner in the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development, to the Anchorage Daily News. Pozonsky started the $79,000-a-year job in October.

Pozonsky could not be reached on Saturday.

Pozonsky's 14-year career on the Washington County bench ended June 29, when he resigned nearly two months after issuing an order to destroy evidence in 17 criminal cases.

Washington County President Judge Debbie O'Dell Seneca removed him from hearing criminal cases after his May 2 order.

Such orders usually are issued only after the district attorney or attorney general requests that evidence in closed cases be destroyed, Seneca told the Tribune-Review in June.

The evidence included crack and powder cocaine and at least $2,000 in cash, according to criminal complaints. A state grand jury heard testimony from at least three assistant district attorneys the month after Pozonsky resigned.

Pozonsky sold his North Strabane home in November, the Tribune-Review reported Wednesday, the day before he resigned his Alaska post.

His wife, Sara, is from Alaska. Her brother, Chuck Kopp, served briefly as Public Safety commissioner under former Gov. Sarah Palin. Kopp now works as an aide to state Sen. Fred Dyson, according to the Anchorage Daily News.

A message left on Sara Pozonsky's cell phone on Saturday was not returned.

A columnist at the Anchorage Daily News questioned on Dec. 1 why Paul Pozonsky was chosen over local applicants to serve as a hearing officer, and why he was allowed to submit his application after the application process had supposedly closed.

Officials in Alaska's Department of Labor could not be reached on Saturday.

Mike Wereschagin is a staff writerfor Trib Total Media. He canbe reached at 412-320-7900or mwereschagin@tribweb.com.

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.