PITTSBURGH (AP) — The state’s Judicial Conduct Board wants a local district judge suspended again, saying he retaliated against his employees during a previous suspension for pursuing a romantic interest in one of his clerks and being intemperate in court.
Ambridge District Judge Andrew Hladio denied the original allegations, which resulted in his paid suspension from Feb. 17 through June 20. The Court of Judicial Discipline, which has yet to conduct a trial on the original allegations, nonetheless ended Hladio’s paid suspension in June without explanation.
The new allegations filed Tuesday by the conduct board ask the Court of Judicial Discipline to suspend Hladio as soon as possible — with or without pay — until the court can hear the original allegations and the new ones.
The Court of Judicial Discipline has the power to censure, suspend, fine or remove Hladio from office. The Judicial Conduct Board investigates allegations of wrongdoing and acts as a prosecutor against judges in the Court of Judicial Discipline.
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Among other things, the new petition contends Hladio retaliated against witnesses who made some of the original allegations against him.
According to the petition, Hladio filed a complaint against the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, which oversees all state courts, and made a claim under the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission making baseless claims that female court workers were harassing him and that his staff’s original allegations about him were false.
The women named in Hladio’s complaints had been witnesses against him during a hearing that led to his original suspension, the conduct board said.
After returning to the bench in June, Hladio yelled at constables who worked in his office and berated a young female prosecutor for her supposed “youth” and inexperience, the conduct board said. He then ignored the woman when her boss, Beaver County District Attorney David Lozier, appeared in Hladio’s courtroom with her on a related matter, the board said. The conduct board found that Hladio communicated with Lozier but acted as though the female prosecutor wasn’t present.
The Associated Press could not immediately reach Hladio for comment Wednesday. Hladio’s court staff said they were told on Friday that he would not be working this week, but they weren’t given an explanation as to why.