Rough Justice on 30 Beers a Day
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It could be anybody. A doctor, a lawyer, and Indian chief. Former Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Toole used to down thirty beers a night. Pretty damn impressive. But no longer. Toole recently went before a federal judge in a pre-sentencing hearing on corruption charges in a Scranton scandal that laid bare Toole’s habit of relentless drinking and “pathological” gambling. Attorney Frank Nocito, representing the disgraced 51-year old family man, told a federal judge that “Mr. Toole's drinking evolved from the casual curiosities of high school and college to full-on alcoholism as an adult, manifesting in the late 1990s in a daily pattern of work followed by long hours at the bar, drinking and gambling,” the Scranton Times-Tribune reports. The alcoholic fog in which ex-Judge Toole went about his affairs “clouded his judgment and complicated his final years on the bench,” as his attorney delicately put it. Nocito told the presiding judge that his client Toole is now abstinent, does not gamble, and is repairing his relationship with his wife. Toole, who pleaded guilty to illegally accepting free use of a New Jersey beach house, has completed inpatient treatment at the Marworth treatment center, meets regularly with an addiction counselor, and attends AA meetings. Since he was kicked off the bench, “Mr. Toole broadened the geographic scope of his [job] search and eventually landed a job in State College, 130 miles from Wilkes-Barre, Mr. Nocito said. He earns $9 an hour ringing up customers and stocking shelves at a small grocery store, Mr. Nocito said.”