Citing “serious, inexplicable errors” designed to protect an Allegheny County Common Pleas judge from having to answer allegations of wrongdoing, former county councilman Chuck McCullough has asked the state Supreme Court to take control of his criminal case.Wait, is that another defense attorney for Chuck?
The lengthy petition seeks the unusual remedy of King’s Bench review and asks Pennsylvania’s highest court to determine whether Judge Lester G. Nauhaus should be permitted to impose punishment on Mr. McCullough on 10 criminal counts at a sentencing hearing scheduled for Dec. 17.
“The process used by the Allegheny County Courts in this matter is plainly a matter of public concern because it violates all established judicial protocols with respect to the handling of a motion for recusal,” wrote defense attorney Adam Cogan of Ligonier. “The need for this court’s immediate intervention in this matter is clear.”
Last time we took a peek the McCullough non finisce mai romanzo legale we learned this from the Trib:
Attorney Megan Will of Somerset, McCullough's fifth defense attorney in a case that has dragged since 2009...Does this mean Attorney Cogan has replaced Attorney Will or is simply co-counsel? The Post-Gazette, yesterday, gave us the answer:
On Tuesday, Mr. McCullough and a new attorney, Adam Cogan, filed an application for King’s Bench review which, if granted, would allow the state Supreme Court to take control of the case. The petition alleged a series of serious errors at the evidentiary hearing and asked that a new, out-of-county judge be assigned to sentence Mr. McCullough, or in the alternative to assign the case to the state Superior Court for further proceedings.So that would make Cogan, by my count, Chuck's sixth defense attorney.
Back to questa storia continua. From The Trib:
[Deputy District Attorney Michael] Streily wrote [in response to McCullough's request that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court exercise its “King's Bench” power] that if McCullough had testified about the alleged conversations between Pushinsky and Nauhaus, where he said the judge had a mutual friend tell Pushinsky to “go nonjury,” he could have avoided the attorney-client privilege Pushinsky cited in refusing to testify at the hearing. The District Attorney's Office later charged McCullough with perjury and obstructing justice because he had sworn his decision to waive a jury was made without threats or promises, making either that waiver or his petition for recusal false.The Trib adds:
McCullough's attorney seemed stymied when another witness at the hearing refused to identify who told him that Nauhaus had talked to his secretary about convicting McCullough. But she could have simply called the secretary to testify, since she was at the hearing, Streily wrote.
The proceedings are the latest in a case that has dragged on for six years. McCullough remains free on bond.As of Friday the State Supreme Court had yet to decide whether to take up the case, though this Trib piece puts some interesting framing on the idea:
Use of a King's Bench Review is relatively uncommon in Pennsylvania, one of the few states that retains that power drawn from English Common Law. Out of 2,949 cases brought to the Supreme Court in 2014, only 2 percent — or 65 cases — were King's Bench reviews. Of those, only one was granted, said Art Heinz, spokesman for the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.So they're rare. Chuck McCullough is out on bond and as of today, it's been 2,487 days since Chuck was arrested. We already know that the trial itself, at 2,353 days, lasted longer than:
- WWII in the Pacific - December 7, 1941 (Attack on Pearl Harbor) to August 15, 1945 (VJ Day): 1,347 days
- WWII in Europe - September 1, 1939 (Germany invades Poland) to May 7, 1945 (Germany Surrenders) 2,075 days
- Nixon Presidency - January 20, 1969 (Nixon's First Inauguration) to August 9, 1974 (Nixon's resignation): 2,027 days
- Civil War - April 12, 1861 (Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumpter) to April 9, 1865 (Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox): 1,458 days
It was 1,834 days or 519 days shorter than the 2,353 days it took to bring Chuck McCullough to trial.
This story just. Won't. End.