Thursday, April 14, 2011

The LuLac Edition #1551, April 14th, 2011



No one has been more of a defender than me for former Judge Anne Lokuta. Family and friends and posters to this site have said she got what she deserved when she was booted off the bench. Again, I disagree. But this latest flap over a remark made at the sentencing of former Judge Mike Toole is intriguing. Lokuta was looking for a Restroom in the Scranton Federal Building. That is no small task since the bathrooms are located on floors 2 and 4. A member of the Toole entourage supposedly said to her when she inquired as to where the lady’s room was, “The men’s room is over there”. Lokuta did not react in outrage nor did she even appear to hear the remark. Mike Sisak of the Citizen’s Voice tweeted and all hell has broken loose because the man who made the remark is a county employee in charge of the Protection from Abuse orders in the county. In effect, he is a paid employee that was there to lend support and comfort to the Toole family. In excerpts from the letter sent to President Judge Tom Burke, Lokuta wrote, “I was the subject of ridicule as the result of the inappropriate sexist comments shouted, and directed at me, by Luzerne County court employee, Jim Dougherty,” Lokuta wrote in her letter. “Mr. Dougherty’s actions, which took place at the criminal sentencing of his friend Michael Toole … were widely reported in both the print and broadcast media on Friday, April 8, 2011, and Saturday, April 9, 2011.” Lokuta said that as a result of Dougherty’s actions she has “suffered great embarrassment and ridicule” and that his actions were a violation of the court’s human resource policy and procedure manual. “The inappropriate comments … were not only hurtful, but also they evinced anti-female sentiments by a man who works directly with victimized women everyday in his capacity as a Luzerne County Protection from Abuse Assistant Supervisor,” Lokuta wrote. “His actions, made at my expense, were reminiscent of the racist, sexist and ethnic jokes which have long been used to victimize and to polarize human beings. There is no place for such bigotry in society, and to allow such to persist is to join in its ranks,” she said. Okay, fair enough. But here are my questions. Is there proof that the remark was directed at Lokuta? Was there intent of malice in the remark? Can you hold an employee accountable for what he said when he is off the clock? Can you prove that this remark affects his performance or has a bias when dealing with women in his position? And if the media did not report it, would there be a complaint filed at all? If the remarks were hurtful, the guy was a jerk. But there are plenty of hurtful people who behave badly. I’m posing these questions not because if true I condone or endorse the remarks. I’m asking because I hope this is not just one more attempt by former Judge Lokuta to remain relevant in the scheme of Luzerne County politics.


West Pittston attorney Harry Skene is making a run at Luzerne County Council. Skene ran for Judge a few years back and made a decent showing. He has had a unique law practice and share with LuLac his qualifications for Luzerne County Council. I am a West Pittston resident with over twenty years experience as an attorney. My practice consists, of representing clients with needs in business, family, estates and real estate matters. My education includeds Adelphi University where a received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, moved on to University of Toledo where I received my Juris Doctor and finally to University of Pennsylvania where I received a post doctorate degree (LLM) in Securities and Financial Regulation. I am certified as a business and family mediator. I practice law and life coaching at my office at 900 Rutter Ave in Forty Fort, PA. I am interested in being a member of Luzerne County Council because I want to see the County’s new government succeed. Our County has received national attention for various scandals and its reputation has been tarnished. I am proud to live in Luzerne County and believe all of the residents should have a government they can trust. Luzerne County has been tarnished by the recent scandals, but even before that many lost faith in the government and suspected there was trouble under the dome. To reinvigorate the constituents, we will need a council willing to work together to take on tough issues as they are presented and handle them responsibly. We need people who come to the table with no person agendas and no interest in providing jobs for friends or family. The county many issues that need to be addressed, some immediate under the home rule chartered and others looming like the budget and some that we will learn about when the Commissioners walk away. I am ready to go to work for the residents of this County and do my best to rebuild the County’s reputation by taking responsibility for the issues that come before council and bringing to that table no personal agenda or bias. I will work together with the other ten members of council to present a united front whenever possible. I do not what to see a fractionated council that is unwilling to work as a team for the residents of this County. You can learn more about me at my election website or my business website


Wilkes Barre Area School Board President had effusive praise for fellow member Phil Latinski for writing a letter on behalf of convicted former Judge Mike Toole. Okay fair enough. But then Moran went off the rails criticizing the local media, WNEP TV in particular for asking those letters to be made public. Moran said the scandals should be all behind us and that the local media should be ashamed for pushing legal action that made Judge Richard Conaboy release some of the letters. Ashamed:? That’s pretty strong stuff for a School Board that lost a third of its membership to indictments. Moran’s comments are shameful and belies everything that people tell me about him, that he is a smart, caring dedicated board member who values education. I think he sounds like a typical political blowhard that blames the media for the scandal. Hety Moran, weren’t you looking across the table at those board meetings and did you not see the three crooks (one of whom was made freaking school board President! By your board) looking at you? Well maybe he was blinded by loyalty….or something else.


At 3:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The power of the courts as it removes civil rights from court employees is simply un American. Regardless of what a person says while on his own time, it is simply not the business of the courts. Everyone seems to be missing the real villain in all of this. If that two bit reporter did not write about it, Ms Lokuta herself would not have know about it. All that Dirty Voice reporter did was let the entire world know that Lokuta was publicly insulted, if indeed she was. Judge Burke in his usual squirming, said he will have an investigation performed to determine the actual circumstance of the remark. How judge? How in the hell do you investigate such a thing? The man said he did not make the remark toward Lokuta that he was simply responding to a guy standing close to him. OK, case closed! Believe him or not, there is no way to dispute his claim of innocence. The reporter from the Dirty Voice should have his left nut removed as a lesson in how it feels to be hurt.

At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't condone a remark such as that, if it was made against Lokuta. But, I have to say Wow! Annie, you sure are gettin' your paybacks for all of your smart ass remarks directed at individuals over the years.

At 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few observations, first off your defense of Lokuta in the past was way off base. She was horrible on the bench. But your defense of Toole's cronies is bordering on sexist which I know you are even though you present another facade. And this Skene guy, a life coach? Puhleeze!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 6:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the reporter who wrote that sleezy story is the culprit who really embarassed Anne Lokuta. The remark IF directed to Lokuta was wrong but to print it was just short of criminal. The CV is becoming a real tabloid.

At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I supported Anne Lokuta when she ran for Judge. Then I happen to visit her courtroom on two different occassions to catch at least a few hours of action in two different cases that had attracted
a fair bit of public attention.
I was surprised to find that it was the judge, not either case, that provided the action. And it smacked of someone with absolute power trying to make sure that everyone in the courtroom, including those gathered to watch, made sure they knew who held that absolute power. Her 'act' was terrible her actions a disgrace to the bench!
That said I wonder why at least one talk jock on WILK kept insisting that Lokuta was so very brave to attend the Toole sentencing.
Did you ever think that she was there to show off for the defendant,his family, and supporters?
After all, she always said it was her against them and while she lost the most important job she ever had at least she isn't going to jail.
I really don't think she came as a show of bravery.


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