Witnesses Speak Out In Domitrovich Ethics Case - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

Witnesses Speak Out In Domitrovich Ethics Case

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ERIE-  A full-blown ethics investigation is underway by the state judicial board.

At the center of it, Erie county judge Stephanie Domitrovich, charged for alleged foul behavior both on and off the bench.

According to a 147-page complaint, Domitrovich, who is assigned to the Family and Orphan’s Court was "impatient, intemperate, belittling and disrespectful" to dozens of people she came across on a regular basis--- including lawyers, defendants, and her clerical staff.

Lori Lobaugh stood before the judge about a year ago in a custody issue with her child's father. Little did she know her case would be a focal point in the investigation.

"I think she was a little frustrated that the argument wasn’t really in the best interest of the child, it was about the ongoing turmoil between the father and myself," Lobaugh says.

In the complaint, the Judge Domitrovich’s frustrations would eventually turn hostile as both Lobaugh and her child's father made derogatory allegations against one another.

Domitrovich would then begin shouting inappropriate comments at both parties and scream, "That's it," and walk out abruptly.

It’s a notion that violates a rule that states judges should be patient, dignified and courteous in the courtroom.

Lobaugh says was the incident was extremely tense, but just.

"She was actually being human about it and wanted us to get together and work together to parent the son,” witness Mark Lobaugh says. “I like that idea in a judge. I kind of like the human factor."

"I think it’s all in the perception of what she's trying to get across,” Lori adds. “Whether it’s something you want to hear or don't want to hear and how you relate and respond to it."

The judicial conduct board charged Domitrovich with six counts of judicial misconduct.

Attorney Len Ambrose has retained the case on the judge's behalf. Ambrose sent a press release Monday afternoon saying Domitrovich is “an esteemed and committed jurist” and he'll work to expose the motivation behind the allegations.
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