So, I forgot to email this photo to the photo desk yesterday, and thought it ought to have a home here.
This is Paul Pozonsky, the former Washington County Common Pleas judge accused of corruption. He appeared in court yesterday for a pretrial suppression hearing, where his attorney -- Robert Del Greco, left -- argued that investigators should have had a search warrant when they seized evidence from a file cabinet in his chambers in May 2012.
It's a really interesting case. Here is the story. And here is my colleague Moriah Balingit's excellent story on the judge from December 2012 -- one of the first pieces exploring his controversial time on the bench.
This picture was taken right before they hugged outside the Washington County Courthouse.
A year ago this month, retired Creighton University pathologist Roger Brumback and his wife, Mary, both 65, were found dead in their Omaha, Neb. home.
The case was unfolding halfway across the country, but still fascinated me from the start. Each had ties to southwestern Pennsylvania: He was a native of Monroeville and she graduated from Bethel Park High School. Friends and family said nothing seemed out of the ordinary in the weeks before the killings.
I had been thinking of the Brumback family a lot lately, and, today, dug up the phone number for Roger's sister, Carol. She said the family is still coping with the loss of the couple, who a friend once described as the kind of family you'd want your kids to marry into.
Sometimes, she still plays her brother's old voice mail messages for their mother, who longs to hear his voice again.
"It's extremely hard," she said. "We still can't believe [they're] dead."
In July, Anthony Garcia was charged in their deaths and, in a bizarre twist, those of Thomas Hunter, 11, and the Hunters' house cleaner Shirlee Sherman, who were fatally stabbed five years earlier.
Prosecutors have said the killings were acts of revenge because university medical center doctors Mr. Brumback and Thomas Hunter's father, William Hunter, had fired Dr. Garcia, the Omaha World-Herald has reported.
The Omaha paper reported that Mr. Garcia was deemed competent to stand trial at a hearing earlier this month, though no date has been set.
They say the Supreme Court "follows th' iliction returns," and it's a safe bet that judges follow poll results, too.
Last year's Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage -- invalidating the federal Defense of Marriage Act and allowing gay marriage to remain legal in California -- all but guaranteed the cascade of rulings in lower federal court in recent months, including yesterday's invalidating Pennsylvania's ban on gay marriage in Pennsylvania.
The commonwealth was the last state in the Northeast with a same-sex marriage ban still standing. If news of the decision seems somewhat anticlimactic, that could be because so many such rulings have come down, they've become almost routine. They say that when a man bites a dog, it's news, but when a dog bites a man, it isn't (although it is for the man being bitten.)
Nationwide, some 55 percent of people now support same-sex marriage, including nearly 80 percent (!) of adults under 30, according to Gallup. By 2011, a majority of Pennsylvanians did, too, and a Franklin & Marshall College Poll in January found 57 percent now supporting same-sex marriage.
U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones III did more than rule on the legal issues. He waxed poetic from the opening sentence -- "Today, certain citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are not guaranteed the right to marry the person they love" -- to his conclusion that the marriage ban belongs on the "ash heap of history."
Sooner or later, we'll find out if the Supreme Court, also known as Justice Anthony Kennedy, intended for Jones and other federal judges to interpret Kennedy's DOMA ruling the way they have been -- that states' denying marriage to same-sex couples is demeaning and discriminatory.
When Massachusetts' top court ruled that way a decade ago, such sentiments ran counter to popular opinion. Today, Judge Jones can probably expect to get more than a few amens.
While our courts reporter Paula Reed Ward was covering the latest developments in the Joan Orie Melvin saga yesterday, I covered a few brief proceedings in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
After the verdict, defense attorney William Difenderfer questioned why the victim in the case wasn't charged with prostitution given testimony that Mr. Stewart agreed to give her money for oral sex. (The victim, who declined comment, testified that Mr. Stewart raped her after the oral sex.)
Mike Manko, spokesman for the Allegheny County district attorney's office, said this morning: "Charging the victim would have left us without a rape case and in viewing the evidence, we thought that the merits of the rape case outweighed charging the victim."