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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

      @Jack

      And?

      @Tim

      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).

      • Tim

        Confronting the error in the 19th comes with a price.

        “That all men are created equal”
        Women are far more likely to consider the unreasonable when the issue is protecting their own children as compared to men. SOR is dominated by men get females have much more access to kids. Rotten crotch in Denmark.

  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

      @Dustin

      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+).

    https://www.tampabay.com/hillsborough/ex-pasco-school-official-gets-life-for-child-porn-sex-abuse-20181206/

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

    Wow.

    • Michael

      The article stated that “The images became part of Napolitano’s vast child pornography collection, which featured victims as young as infants being subjected to sadistic sexual abuse.” If that was enough, “Napolitano sneaked into the teen’s bedroom, which he shared with two younger brothers, and sexually abused him there.”

      Like it or not, smh, this is the reason the registries exist. Because of turds like him, states all across the country are forcing people who should not have to register to do so for as long as… forever.

      You’d do well to not boohoo for people like William Napolitano.

      • Dustin

        @ Michael,

        No one is “boohoo”ing for Napolitano. We’re only saying that the registry does absolutely nothing to prevent crimes like his, and won’t do anything to prevent him from repeating if he chooses if/when he is released. We also point out that he is not typical of the near-million individuals currently on the registry.

        The truth is that the registry does NOT exist because of turds like Napolitano. It exists primarily because too many people have vested financial interests in its maintenance and growth (if it had to survive on its own merits, it would have shriveled up and died five years after it was enacted for ineffectiveness) and secondarily as a political ace in the sleeve by those in or seeking office (mostly a bunch of failed lawyers).

        Caving to the reasoning that the registry is needed because of cases like Napolitano has to stop. I defy anyone to find one single instance of the registry preventing a sex crime from occurring or having a role in the investigation of one, outside of registry or technical parole/probation violations. Even if one was found, I’d bet my right arm that the information the registry provided was easily available in any of a number of other databases and records routinely consulted through normal diligence.

        It’s well-established that 97% of new sex crimes are committed by non-registrants. Accordingly, even if registries were necessary, I would argue that the state/government at the very least should have to show some indication that an accused is likely to be among the 3% of recidivating registrants as opposed to the 97% of them who never commit another.

        • Michael

          Maybe boohoo wasn’t appropriate. Maybe what I should have said was, no one should be posting in defense of a turd who had a vast child pornography collection, which featured victims as young as infants being subjected to sadistic sexual abuse, and who snuck into a teen’s bedroom, which he shared with two younger brothers, and sexually abused him there. We are not talking about a public pee-er, Dustin. There is no defense for Napolitano’s actions. He IS the reason these registries exist.

          I want to make clear that, although you think you are, you are not educating me on anything. For the last 19 years I’ve read countless briefs and opinions from all of the country. I know the stats. I spent 16 months in an FCI and was an RSO for 17 years, 7 years longer than I should have had I lived in PA where I was convicted. I am well versed in all of it. Three months after having moved back to PA, two city detectives showed up to tell me that I had failed to register. I told them to get the f*ck out, because I knew the law better than they did. That was two years ago. I’ve never registered here.

          The fact is, Dustin, the registries DO exist because of turds like Napolitano. The Jacob Wetterling Act does not exist because someone thought it a good way to line their pockets. It exists primarily because there are people who think it appropriate to sexually abuse others. We can debate it’s effectiveness and the effectiveness of any additions or amendments to the law. That won’t change the reason behind it’s existence.

          What really needs to stop, if anyone wants anything good to come from the movement, is for people to stop defending baby rapists and sexual predators. What makes any of you think people are just going to start having the stomach for baby rape? Defending Napolitano says a lot more about the person making the defense than it does about me. Ya’ll can defend him. I’ll not do that. I know that, because the cat is already out of the bag, the registries will continue to exist, unless by some miracle the Rightists on the Supreme Court suddenly have a change of heart. So the question then is, what do we do about what is in effect? Dumping chum into the waters isn’t going to persuade the populous or any politician to see things our way. It will only start a feeding frenzy.

          What is also well-established, Dustin, is laws don’t deter crime. That has not persuaded politicians to repeal them, nor has it stopped politicians from passing more of them. Laws are about retribution. The people want their pound of flesh, and they are going to get it. Why offer them another pound?

  8. Michael

    This is a perfect example of an activist judge, unlike those the Rightists complain about.

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