Saturday, December 8, 2018

Al­le­gheny Co PA Com­mon Pleas Judge Donna Jo McDaniel gets booted from resentencing hearing of SO

An appeals courts rules against your court ruling and remands the case for resentencing. What do you do? If you're Donna Jo McDaniel, you respond by making the same ruling in defiance. This worthless excuse of a judge needs to be removed from the bench.

Superior Court removes Allegheny County judge from sex offender's resentencing 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 NOV 28, 2018

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.

The three-judge panel of the ap­pel­late court wrote a blis­ter­ing 13-page opin­ion that also or­dered that An­thony McCau­ley be sen­tenced again by a new judge. It is one of a se­ries of opin­ions by the Su­pe­rior Court dat­ing to Jan­u­ary 2017 in which Judge McDaniel has been ques­tioned for her sen­tenc­ing of sex of­fend­ers.

“The trial court’s an­i­mus and hos­til­ity to ap­pel­lant’s coun­sel and the [Al­le­gheny County] Pub­lic De­fender’s of­fice ap­pears to be deep, un­wav­er­ing and dem­on­strates an un­jus­ti­fied bias against the Pub­lic De­fender’s of­fice,” wrote Su­pe­rior Court Judge Alice Beck Dubow.

The Su­pe­rior Court also crit­i­cized Judge McDaniel for us­ing in­ap­pro­pri­ate sar­casm in her writ­ten opin­ion; for de­ny­ing McCau­ley a fair and con­sti­tu­tional sen­tenc­ing hear­ing; and for fail­ing to fol­low pre­vi­ous Su­pe­rior Court or­ders, there­fore wast­ing ju­di­cial re­sources.

Ordered to redo an 'unreasonable' sentence, judge responds by imposing the exact same punishment. In a foot­note, the ap­pel­late court also chas­tised her for in­clud­ing the full name of the child vic­tim in McCau­ley’s case in her opin­ion.

“Not only do we dis­ap­prove of this prac­tice, but it is also con­trary to [Penn­syl­va­nia law], which makes it a crim­i­nal of­fense for an of­fi­cer or em­ployee of the court to re­veal the name of a mi­nor vic­tim of sex­ual abuse in doc­u­ments avail­able to the pub­lic,” Judge Dubow wrote.

Although the pros­pect of re­fer­ring Judge McDaniel to the Ju­di­cial Con­duct Board was raised by the pros­e­cu­tion dur­ing oral ar­gu­ment on McCau­ley’s case in April, the Su­pe­rior Court opin­ion does not men­tion the dis­ci­plin­ary or­ga­ni­za­tion.

Judge McDaniel could not be reached for com­ment.

Amie Downs, the county’s spokes­woman, de­clined com­ment on be­half of the pub­lic de­fender’s of­fice.

The most re­cent case to bring scorn from the Su­pe­rior Court was an ap­peal of a sec­ond sen­tenc­ing pro­ceed­ing for McCau­ley, 45. He was con­victed in 2014 of rape and years-long abuse of a girl.

Ini­tially, Judge McDaniel sen­tenced McCau­ley to 20 to 40 years in prison. On ap­peal, McCau­ley’s de­fense at­tor­ney ques­tioned whether that pen­alty was man­da­tory or dis­cre­tion­ary.

The Su­pe­rior Court sent the case back to Judge McDaniel in Oc­to­ber 2016 and told her to clar­ify that ques­tion.
At re­sen­tenc­ing in Decem­ber 2016, she did not ad­dress that is­sue, the court found, and in­stead changed the pen­alty only slightly — to 20 years less two days to 40 years less four days.

Judge McDaniel did not al­low McCau­ley to speak, did not re­view a new pre-sen­tence re­port for him, and did not pro­vide any of the due pro­cess that is re­quired for a crim­i­nal sen­tenc­ing, the Su­pe­rior Court con­cluded.

That prompted new ap­peals from the pub­lic de­fender’s of­fice, which rep­re­sented McCau­ley, and a re­quest that Judge McDaniel re­cuse her­self.

She re­fused.

In its opin­ion Wed­nes­day, Su­pe­rior Court wrote that it did not like Judge McDaniel’s be­hav­ior in the case.

“In par­tic­u­lar, the trial court’s opin­ion is filled with gra­tu­itous com­ments den­i­grat­ing ap­pel­lant’s coun­sel and the Pub­lic De­fender’s of­fice,” the panel wrote.

The three judges said they be­lieve she made a “veiled threat” ques­tion­ing the at­tor­ney’s and of­fice’s cred­i­bil­ity and im­plied that their con­tin­ued ap­peal of her sen­tence could be “harm­ful to other crim­i­nal de­fen­dants who may ac­tu­ally have mer­i­to­ri­ous claims.”

The panel also crit­i­cized Judge McDaniel for sar­casm it said she used in her opin­ion.

“This sar­casm is dis­re­spect­ful to ap­pel­lant, coun­sel and the se­ri­ous­ness of the sen­tenc­ing pro­cess,” they wrote.

Four times in the opin­ion, the panel said it was ei­ther “trou­bled” by Judge McDaniel’s ac­tions or found them “trou­bling.”

The court cited her fail­ure to fol­low its in­struc­tions on re­mand, in­clud­ing on two sex of­fender cases in which she was or­dered to re­sen­tence the de­fen­dants and gave them the same pen­al­ties she’d pre­vi­ously im­posed.

“This has re­sulted in an ex­ten­sive de­ploy­ment of ju­di­cial re­sources to re­view, an­a­lyze, and rec­tify the court’s de­fi­cient sen­tenc­ing hear­ings,” the panel wrote.

In both of those cases, Judge McDaniel sen­tenced the de­fen­dants to twice what guide­lines rec­om­mended.

At both hear­ings, Judge McDaniel said from the bench that she con­ducted a statis­ti­cal anal­y­sis of her cases from 2012 to 2016, claim­ing that her sen­tences for sex of­fend­ers were com­pa­ra­ble to those of other judges.

In its opin­ion Wed­nes­day, the Su­pe­rior Court noted that Judge McDaniel did not in­clude any of her anal­y­ses in the cer­ti­fied record, mak­ing it im­pos­sible for the panel to con­sider her con­clu­sions.

Still, it con­tin­ued, “a statis­ti­cal anal­y­sis would not com­pel a dif­fer­ent re­sult.”

Pres­i­dent Judge Jef­frey A. Man­ning said late Wed­nes­day that he had not seen the opin­ion and could not com­ment on it.

“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,” Judge Man­ning said.

“I will re­view the opin­ion and abide by the law­ful or­ders of the ap­pel­late court.”

1 comment:


    And now a Vigilante named Nick Cross has been accused by Australian investigators for killing an innocent person. Yes Nick Cross has been investigated by Australian Police for Vigilante harassment in the past.