The new chief counsel for the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania has ties to Warren.
Francis J. Puskas assumed the duties of chief counsel this month after 16 years as deputy chief counsel, according to a JCB statement. He first joined the organization in 2002.
Prior to joining the board, Puskas served as an assistant district attorney in Warren County.
“Frank was originally an Assistant District Attorney under District Attorney Joe Massa early in my career,” said attorney and district judge Todd Woodin. “He was eventually hired by Joe Massa to be his deputy when Joe moved to Harrisburg to become chief attorney himself.”
“Frank is a competent lawyer and a nice guy”, said Woodin. “Although he’s not from here, he started his career here and still asks about our local news when I see him in Harrisburg for annual updates.”
He had also served as an assistant attorney general for Pennsylvania.
“I have devoted many years to the council’s important mission of maintaining the independence and integrity of our judiciary,” Puskas said. “I look forward to continuing this commitment and ensuring the utmost public confidence in our justice system. I am both touched and honored by the trust and support of the Board of Directors.
“As lead counsel to the board, Mr. Puskas will lead the independent forensic agency, which includes a talented team of attorneys, investigators and support staff based at the Pennsylvania Judicial Center in Harrisburg,” according to the press release. “As Deputy Chief Counsel, Mr. Puskas served for many years as a Judicial Ethics Instructor for the Pennsylvania Minor Judiciary Education Board’s Continuing Legal Education Program for Magistrate District Judges, Remand Court Magistrates in Philadelphia indictment and the judges of the Old Philadelphia Traffic Court.” according to the press release. “He has also lectured on judicial ethics prior to Pennsylvania Bar Association and County Bar Association conferences.”
The JCB was “created by a constitutional amendment in 1993”, according to the press release. This “is an independent counsel within the judicial branch of the Commonwealth Government responsible for considering, investigating and, where appropriate, prosecuting complaints of judicial misconduct.”
“If the council, by a majority vote, decides that there are probable grounds to believe that a judge has committed misconduct, the council may lodge a complaint with the Court of Judicial Discipline where the council must prove the charges brought against the judge with clear and convincing statements. evidence. The Court of Judicial Discipline decides whether the council has maintained its burden of proof and decides on the sanction to be imposed for any proven misconduct.
“This is important work because it serves to uphold the ethical responsibilities of judges at all levels in Pennsylvania,” said Woodin. “It’s a big problem.”