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Lokuta gets leave of absence

Judge allowed 10 days to work on a response to a ruling that she violated rules of conduct.

WILKES-BARRE – Luzerne County Judge Ann Lokuta has been granted a 10-day leave of absence to allow her to work on her response to a ruling that she violated rules of judicial conduct, a court official said Monday.

John Mulroy, deputy court administrator, said President Judge Mark Ciavarella granted Lokuta’s request to use personal leave to work on filing objections to a ruling issued Thursday by the state Court of Judicial Discipline.

The court determined Lokuta had violated judicial Canons by bringing disrepute to the office and prejudicing the administration of justice. Lokuta has 10 days from the date of the ruling to file objections.

Pending the ruling on that matter, the court would schedule a hearing to determine what sanctions might be imposed on Lokuta.

An attorney with the Judicial Conduct Board, which prosecuted Lokuta, said he intends to ask the court to remove Lokuta from office. Ciavarella said previously Lokuta will remain on the bench pending the resolution of the misconduct case.

County judges, whose salary is $157,441 in 2008, are paid directly by the state. Mulroy said he did not know if Lokuta’s leave was paid or unpaid. Ciavarella did not return a phone message Monday seeking clarification.

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