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Ex-Washington County judge quits Alaska hearing officer post

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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.

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