Ah, Memorial Day Weekend. The unofficial start of the summer. I’ll be spending it grilling out in my backyard and interviewing potential nannies (third time’s the charm).
If I knew either of these state judges, my holiday might also involve really good drugs. If you think about it, local judges should have great connects. And today, we’ve got two stories about judges who allegedly used those hook-ups to get access to loads of blow for themselves and friends.
Just stay safe. One judge’s friend (who was also a judge) ended up dead while lying on top of some cocaine…
Our first story comes from Missouri, where a St. Clair County judge (whose father is a wealthy personal injury attorney) could be charged with drug possession. That might be a light punishment. Another St. Clair County judge recently died of an apparent overdose. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Federal prosecutors were preparing at least one drug possession charge against the 20th Circuit’s drug court judge, Michael Cook, a source close to the investigation said.
The developments included fresh scrutiny on the death of one of the county’s associate judges, Joseph D. Christ, 49. His body was found March 10 in the Cook family’s hunting lodge near Pleasant Hill, Ill., in Pike County, about 65 miles northwest of St. Louis.
Cocaine was found under Christ’s body, and investigators believe he died of a drug overdose, with Cook in the building, the source said.
Initially, there was only sugar under Christ’s body, but things changed when the party ran low.
Cook wasn’t arrested in connection with Christ’s death. Instead, a St. Clair County probation department employee has been accused of supplying the yeyo. Could St. Clair County get its own season on The Wire?
Meanwhile, in Washington County, Pennsylvania, a county judge allegedly cut out the middle man altogether. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
In August 2011, Common Pleas Judge Paul Pozonsky, who had presided over a Washington County courtroom for more than a decade, made a peculiar request in what was otherwise a routine pretrial hearing: He wanted to see the drug evidence.
According to a grand jury presentment, Mr. Pozonsky went so far as calling a state trooper handling the case the next day, asking him to bring him the drugs that had been seized during the execution of a search warrant the previous year, a haul that totaled more than 200 grams of cocaine…
Less than a year later, when state police began investigating Mr. Pozonsky, they found that the bags — which themselves contained the plastic baggies the drugs were found in — had been tampered with. Evidence seals were broken on some them. Some of the baggies had been filled with sodium bicarbonate — baking soda — and contained Mr. Pozonsky’s DNA.
That’s bold. That’s Walter White destroying a laptop in a police evidence locker bold.
As people started to notice Pozonsky’s alleged scheme, the judge tried a master stroke:
According to the grand jury presentment, Washington City police Chief Robert Lemons sent a letter to Mr. Pozonsky in April of 2012, asking if he still had drug evidence in his possession from a 2-year-old case. On May 1 of last year, in a move that infuriated the district attorney’s office, Mr. Pozonsky unilaterally ordered the destruction of evidence in that case and 17 others. Most were drug-related. About half of the cases described in the presentment were listed in the destruction order.
I think it would be a lot of fun to invite Judges Cook and Pozonsky over this weekend, but only have one mirror.
St. Clair County judge held pending drug charge [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
Former Washington County judge Pozonsky faces theft, drug charges [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]