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Jessup Cops Refile Charges Against Judge’s Son

December 5, 2018

Jessup police have refiled marijuana possession and other charges against Lackawanna County Judge Thomas Munley’s son, charges the county’s top prosecutor said police improperly withdrew in July.

Borough Police Chief Joseph Walsh said the department refiled charges against Logan Munley, 18, of Jessup, after recently received test results showed the suspected marijuana they found in his parents’ home was actually marijuana.

“We prefer to do that if the person is not a flight risk,” Walsh said, referring to getting the substance tested. Flight risk means someone who will not show up for hearings.

Walsh said department policy is to wait to get test results on suspected illegal drugs before charging a suspect who is not a risk to flee. Testing is ultimately done on all suspected illegal drugs, he said.

Munley faces charges of possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct, all misdemeanors, and criminal mischief, a summary offense. He was charged via a mailed summons and is free without bail. His preliminary hearing is Jan. 11 at 9:45 a.m.

Patrolman Russell Benke originally charged Munley on July 15, after his mother complained to police that her son tried to drive away in her car while high or drunk. Jodean Munley told police she found marijuana in the car and that her son punched a hole in a wall and broke an expensive statue.

She said police charged her son at her request to force him into drug rehabilitation and agreed to withdraw the charges after her son agreed to enter rehabilitation.

“It was worked out with me,” she said.

She and the judge denied he played a role. After the original charges were withdrawn, District Attorney Mark Powell said his office approved the original charges, but wasn’t consulted about the withdrawal.

Walsh said Wednesday he verbally reprimanded Benke, who has worked part-time for Jessup about a year, but also works for other departments that may have different policies. He blamed himself for failing to make Benke aware of department policy.

“He’s new,” Walsh said. “I wish I had more like him. I wish I had more time to spend with him training him.”

He said the department, partly because its officers plan to unionize, is about to undertake an overhaul of all its policies and will review the drug arrest policy as part of that.

Contact the writer: bkrawczeniuk@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9147; @BorysBlogTT on Twitter.

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