August 21, 2007

Justice for Judge Joyce?

For unadulterated audacity and out and out gall, Michael Joyce, a Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge, may currently hold the lead in this year's gold medal competition.

Scanning Insurance Journal Online today, we learned that last Wednesday, federal prosecutors indicted Judge Joyce for mail fraud and money laundering, claiming that he cheated the Erie Insurance Group and State Farm Insurance out of $440,000, a charge the judge denies as he protests his innocence.

Judge Joyce came to our attention not for what he is accused of doing, but for how he is alleged to have done it. According to the indictment, Judge Joyce, while parked in his Mercedes-Benz sedan in 2001, was rear-ended by an SUV traveling about 5 mph. That's right, five miles per hour – I’ve crested middle age and I still can run that fast.

Following this horrendoma of a crash, no police or medics were called to the scene, yet the Judge asserted that the impact rendered him unable to exercise or play golf for more than a year. He was paid $390,000 by his insurer, the Erie Group, and $50,000 by State Farm, which insured the poor SUV driver.

Unfortunately for Judge Joyce, the indictment alleges that, not only was he playing 18- hole rounds of golf shortly after the "accident," but he was doing it on vacation in Jamaica. It also claims that he was scuba diving, inline skating (I’ve never gotten the hang of that) and working out in his local Gym. The man must be a medical and physical marvel.

At any rate, Judge Joyce has announced that, infirmities and indictments notwithstanding, he will continue his run for a second ten-year term in this fall's coming election.

The state's Supreme Court last Friday suspended Judge Joyce, with pay, "to protect and preserve the integrity of the Unified Judicial System, etc…"

And what, you may ask, did Judge Joyce do with his new-found wealth? Well, according to the indictment, he used it to buy a motorcycle and make down payments on a house and an airplane, which, of course, he intended to fly. We know that, because on the application for his pilot's license he asserted that he had no injuries or physical problems that would preclude his flying up, up and away, which he then did about 50 times.

There is terrible injustice here. We’ll let the courts decide whether it has been done to the Judge, or by him.

| 5 Comments

5 Comments

Tom:

Like all Mercedes drivers I know he felt it was do him. After all he Superior Judge driving a Superior car.

But the bigger question is how on a Judge's salary did he afford to drive a Mercedes. They either pay way to well in PA, or maybe this is not the first time he has "crumpled" the truth.

Regards,

Charles

What a jerk! He knew better and still decided to rip off an already oppressed system. I have been on worker's comp since 2001 when I injured (again) my knee at work. 10 plus surgeries later, including a total knee replacement, I still am unable to walk properly causing all sorts of other problems. Make only 2,089.00 a month on TD and this Judge thinks it is OK to rip off the system. Then he gets off with pay. And will probably only have to pay restitution. If I did that I would pay and still be locked up. Can you say "No Fair?"

...Suspended with pay? Not a bad deal. Now he'll have even more time for golf.

I note that this is a federal indictment, not a civil suit by the insurers for fraud. I can't fathom why any carrier would pay that kind of money for that type of accident without a thorough investigation, except possibly that Erie and State Farm had many cases in front of him and this was an opportunity to attempt to buy favor under the radar. It seems highly unlikely this would happen without the complicity of the carriers.

Paul raises some extremely interesting issues. Where were the independant medical exams? Where were the statements under oath? Where were the investigators the insurance companies send out to follow people? J. Joyce was in a unique position to help the insurance industry by writing opinions favorable to that industry. Hopefully, the american public isn't blinded by spin (like this blog) that attempt to turn this into another opportunity to poison the jury pool by declaring the sins of "insurance fraud" without looking at the bigger picture and the probable complicity of the insurance industry.

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This page contains a single entry by Tom Lynch published on August 21, 2007 4:20 PM.

15 TX workers linked to vermiculite exposure; echoes of Libby, Montana was the previous entry in this blog.

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