Thursday, April 07, 2011

The LuLac Edition #1539, April 7th, 2011



Judge Michael Toole is scheduled to be sentenced Friday. During the course of his presentencing investigation, Toole had many letters written on his behalf. His Attorneys wanted them kept secret, WNEP TV wanted them released. Judge Richard Conaboy released some of them. The letters that were read on Talk Radio today as well as appearing in the two daily newspapers are eye opening. First off is the letters from relatives of Toole who are employed by the County. While all of these folks are most likely good at their jobs, the cynical among us might wonder how they got that work in the first place. A common thread in all of the letters is how personable, friendly, kind and enjoyable Michael Toole is as a friend, relative, father, brother, cousin and neighbor. There are lines of praise for the work ethic that put him through school, into a law practice and ultimately onto the Luzerne County bench. While it is true Toole’s father was a County Judge, it should be noted that when Michael Toole ran for Judge he had a hard fought campaign against another scion of a well known political family, the O’Connors. So we’ll call this one even. But the letters illustrate for all of us the fall of this young man. They are written by well meaning people who want to see their friend get a break. The letter writers cannot refer to Toole’s Judicial career because he did commit a crime. True it wasn’t on the scale of Ciavarella and Conahan but it was a crime. It also might have been influenced by his addictions but there are plenty of addicted people who don’t commit crimes. Judge Conaboy has to make a decision on the fate of Michael Toole. Whether those letters saying Mike Toole is a good guy will have an impact is anyone’s guess. But good guys sometimes go wrong and when they do, all the letters in the world cannot whitewash that fact. My feeling is Judge Conaboy should split the middle on this. That’s what I would do. But I think the veteran jurist is going to throw the book at him. We’ll see.


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