Friday, June 17, 2016

Inky on Elitism at Work in Judicial Picks

This week, I published three stories about Governor Wolf's 29 judicial nominations, which he released on Monday and include Dan McCarthy for Lehigh County and Alicia Zito for a magisterial position in Northampton County. My first story notes that these picks, for the most part, appear to have gone to political insiders. My second story references a Legal Intelligencer report that Governor Wolf ignored the recommendations of a commission that he set up himself to review potential nominees. My third story reports that an 11-person commission ,"100% nonpartisan," interviewed 46 judicial wannabes and recommended about 11 or 12.

Leon W. Tucker, an African American judge from Philly, was on the short list. So were Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano, son of Italian immigrants, and Joe Cosgrove, who helped restore integrity to a badly damaged Luzerne County bench after the kids-for-cash scandal. Tucker and Giordano were snubbed, although Cosgrove was named to the Commonwealth Court.

The Inky has finally picked up on this story, and has also noticed that Judge Tucker was bypassed in favor of Republican insider Sallie Mundy, who was never even interviewed by Wolf's commission.

So much for merit selection. Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli pointed out that this is why the so-called merit selection of judges is bad for democracy. "It is the epitome of elitism," he says.


Anonymous said... opposed to those hired by the DA's office "purely on merit" as opposed to political connections or contributions?

Anonymous said...

Political appointments are just that!!!!!!!Political appointments. It doesn't matter who makes them. A Commission, a Governor, A senate Panel, political appointments are just that. I'd rather be stuck with a dumb electorate decision by the voters than a decision by one of these panels. There is no answer for this dilemma, however, election of judges is still the best policy. They must answer to the voters. This goes for the "SUPREME COURT" too.

Anonymous said...

It has also been reported that Wolf also nominated former Chief Deputy AG/ Labor Secretary Julia K. Hearthway, (under Corbett) to the Commonwealth Court.

She should be denied for aiding and abetting corruption,and more, in both roles.

Hearthway was instrumental in burying criminal complaints against a Scranton Workers’ Comp judge. That judge, who formerly spent twelve years on the Governor's Office of Chief Counsel from 1993-2005, is NEPA Irish local royalty as past president of the Friendly Sons. Patrick J. Cummings was caught and accused of trial fixing. I know, I filed the complaint and corresponded with Deputy AG Hearthway.

Five years ago this month, Lackawanna County had its own Pay to Play corruption trial.
A chief prosecution witness was Dunmore Solicitor Tom Cummings Jr, and despite his criminal acts, Corbett appointed this crook to WC Appeal Board Commissioner.

It took some time and a lot of digging, but gems revealed in that pay to play trial revealed something new to me. Its a bombshell for corruption across PA politics.
Tom Cummings is both lawyer and illicit business partner of the employer in the comp fraud case that WCJ Cummings was accused of fixing.

They are Bothers.
It was FELONY for WCJ Patrick J Cummings to reassign that comp case to his docket, as his brother was both attorney and business partner with the subjects of the comp case. Further, as reported in the Morning Call by Steve Esack, AG Kane hired Tom Cummings III, who was employed with the firm his father was in business with, at the time his uncle Patrick J Cummings wrestled control of Acker Associates, Inc's comp cases.
That hidden gem also indicates that the prosecution witness, Acker, McLaine and Cummings concealed that crime in their testimony that landed Cordaro in prison.
Tom Cummings’ testimony revealed his role in setting up and running a shadow company( John Brayfee LLC) to grab a no-bid $257,000 contract to build an overpriced 9-1-1 cell tower for the county, allegedly cutting the imprisoned commissioner in for a $14,000.00 share.
In 2012, as Labor Secretary, despite her oversight of the aforesaid criminal complaint against the WC Judge brother, she approved Tom Cummings appointment by Corbett as a Workers Compensation Appeals Board Commissioner.
The Scranton Times-Tribune has published pics of Corbett on the Dais sitting with Cummings, the crooked judge.
The details can be acquired from Governor Wolf’s office via Right to Know Request for Notice of Claim re Cummings and the Commonwealth.