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PA: Superior Court removes Allegheny County judge from sex offender’s resentencing

The state Su­pe­rior Court, in a rare move Wed­nes­day, or­dered Al­le­gheny County Com­mon Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel to be re­moved from a case, find­ing that there was “sub­stan­tial ev­i­dence” that she “demon­strated bias and per­sonal an­i­mus” against both the de­fen­dant and the pub­lic de­fender’s of­fice rep­re­sent­ing him. Full Article

Follow-Up: Allegheny County judge ordered removed by Superior Court from sex offender case recuses

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  1. Bill

    God works in wonderful ways.

  2. AJ

    It’s pretty bad when even the State says you’re biased. From Footnote 6:
    “Even the Commonwealth recognized the trial court’s hostility to defense counsel and the appearance of bias that the trial court showed.”
    As the article says, the Superior Court gave a “blistering” opinion. Blistering indeed! This judge not only has animus and contempt for the PDO and defendant, but seemingly the Superior Court as well. I suspect this is not the end of things for this horrible, biased judge.

    • Joe

      I keep reading the twitter feed of Michelle Dauber (the Stanford professor of Brock Turner fame who got Judge Aaron Persky recalled for lenience) to see the course of action her pronounced sense of justice makes her take on a case like this…. so far – nothing.

      Justice = max. sentence allowable. Under one of the harshest criminal codes on the planet – which provides for thousands of years or multiple life sentences. ‘Murica!

      • TS

        Makes one wonder, @Joe, about the female judge in the Larry Nassar case who lambasted him from her pulpit, er, I mean, bench earlier this year and why she didn’t get some blowback at the time. Folks here got riled up rightfully so.

        • Tim

          I mean really who is afraid, intimidated or threatened by Larry Nasser??? He’s the guy we demand locked up for life??? With all the convicted murders and thugs with guns or other weapons running loose after serious non sex violent crimes he’s the guy?? Only cowards would demand such. All victims walked away wounded yes but not dead!
          As far as the barn witch who sentenced him she was guilty of legal grandstanding. It is impossible to ignore her feminist leanings. Her demanding him over and over to repeat his admission of guilt was at minimum unprofessional. Like it or not our founders did not give the female citizen the right to vote and their reasoning apparent. The living document they call it by which is continuously overridden by the presumed will of the people.

  3. Jack

    @TS I thought it was clear this judge was following the nassar judge’s despicable example.

    • TS




      You had a decent argument on the judge until you went to gender specific attack mode and attacking the US Constitution. After that, you lost credibility.

      As for attacking Larry Nasser, I see your point. There are worse people than Larry Nasser by physical stature, but what he did do, as found in the court, was on the same level even if his physical stature did not play into it where his professional credentials did as a person in a position of trust. The man behind the curtain was small in stature, but powerful when he used all of the tools he could to scare people (from a famously known move that shall go unnamed here).

  4. Dustin

    One of the burdens of being a judge is to set personal opinions and feelings aside and rule according to what the law says. Manipulating circumstances to fit the law is for the lawyers to do, not judges. Sadly, most judges are incapable of that, particularly when presiding over cases involving sex offenses.

    • TS


      That is a spot on assessment. The conundrum of an elected vs appointed judge/justice in today’s society (or maybe even location relation, e.g. IL, which was specifically chosen for this example given their “fine” justice history there (hahaha)).

      You want the people to have a their say in those who mete out their justice, but you don’t want those chosen or wanting to be chosen to pander to the masses like politicians. You also don’t want an appointed judge to lose focus on their true mission and become different on a lifetime appointment. (This is what happened with SCOTUS Justice Souter after his appointment by Bush 41 and was the fear (from “conservative” to more left leaning) of those at the time that would happen after he was the bench according to what I read over the weekend about Bush 41’s legacy.)

      You would think in this country we could come up with a different method to ensure judicial impartialness, e.g. term limits perhaps.

  5. 290 air

    “Judge McDaniel is an ex­tremely bright and ded­i­cated judge who has for many years pro­tected the rights of the ac­cused and at the same time guarded the rights of the vic­tims and wit­nesses in very se­ri­ous, of­ten vi­cious, sex of­fender cases which can spark sig­nifi­cant dis­agree­ment be­tween coun­sel and the court,”

    How is she so bright if she can’t follow simple directions?

  6. RSO Wife

    Yes she is extremely biased.

    Judge Jo McDaniel was the one who convicted my husband, and forced him to live in alleghney county through a special court order. She specifically said he had to have an alleghney address, and stated it in such a way that he couldn’t be homeless. He couldn’t have an address that was a street corner or under a bridge. His sentence was 3 months in jail, and 5 years probation. He spent almost 6 months in jail.

    He PO told him that he was in violation of his probation sitting in jail, because he didn’t have a alleghney county address when he was suppose to be released. The PO let him out for a month, and we eventually found a place to rent. It cost us our house/home. I was ticked. Talk about standing by your man. Now we have a forclosure on our back all because of her. Live in what we consider an unsafe place with some shootings around us.

    Now we are severly hindered trying to get a house with the forclosure on our back, and the fact he is having a very hard time trying to find a job just because he is on megans law registery. A whole other issue. A temp service told him point blank that they couldn’t hire him because he was on the registery. At least they were honest.

    All I can do now is trust in Jesus, since I have more bills and debt than income. Yes I do forgive Judge Jo McDaniel.

    • Dustin

      @ RSO Wife,

      Perhaps I’m misreading some of the facts you put in your post, because some of them are ridiculously illegal.

      1. The court ABSOLUTELY NO AUTHORITY to exclude homelessness from its probation conditions. Pretty sure they don’t have the authority to restrict him to a particular area or county, either. Goes back to the age-old rule that the court can’t make probation conditions impossible.

      2. Don’t know about the law in your state, but most require a person be given credit for time served awaiting trial. You didn’t get into detail, but I’m betting that’s what happened to your husband. Pretty sure you’d have recourse in law, if not the court. Again, depends on what the law is in your state.

      3. He couldn’t be in violation of his probation if he was in jail. Technically, he’s not under probation supervision at all if he is in custody already. Whether or not the jail could release him without a verified address or not is a separate issue, but the PO wouldn’t have a role in that (the sheriff usually determines if an address is okay for registrants to move there, not the court or probation office).

      If I were you (or any other registrant in that county), I’d seriously look into filing an ethics complaint against that judge with the state supreme court. At the very least, you should be able to get her off of your husband’s case.

      Good luck and keep us posted.

  7. smh

    Life in prison for pleading guilty to CP and a long term relationship with a 15 year old met on grindr (18+).

    “The only appropriate sentence for someone who has sex with a minor is life,” she (the judge) said.


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