Pa. Judge Accused of Heroin Use
Oct. 23, 1999
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A judge facing re-election next month was accused of shooting heroin in her chambers and dismissing charges against her dealer in exchange for drugs, a prosecutor said.
District Justice Gigi Sullivan was stripped of her duties after charges were announced Friday. She faces arraignment Monday and will remain on the Nov. 2 ballot for now, her lawyer said.
Ms. Sullivan, 38, shot heroin, snorted cocaine and misused prescription drugs before presiding over cases, state Attorney General Mike Fisher said.
She is accused of accepting drugs in exchange for dismissing charges against her supplier, Donald Geraci, a used car dealer and former restaurateur, and other dealers in a drug ring he led, Fisher said.
Ms. Sullivan also tipped off Geraci when police had warrants for his arrest and when they planned to search his home and restaurant, the prosecutor said.
Her attorney, Patrick Thomassey, said Ms. Sullivan had a prescription drug problem after an injury.
``She managed to keep a handle on that, with help, but apparently something happened and she ended up in this position,'' he said. ``These are only allegations. She maintains her innocence.''
A Democrat, Ms. Sullivan Republican opponent, David Sosovicka, had little comment, saying she is ``presumed innocent until proven guilty.''
Among the felonies Ms. Sullivan faces are possession of heroin and cocaine, kiting a $2,000 check, accepting bribes and burglarizing Geraci's used car lot.
District justices in Pennsylvania hold preliminary hearings and set initial bail for criminal offenses. They rule on minor crimes and traffic tickets and can issue protection-from-abuse orders. Magistrates also rule on civil matters up to $8,000, can perform weddings and decide landlord-tenant disputes.