Thursday, December 1, 2011


In 20 years as a judge the 'Honorable' Debra Pezze has been a constant source of controversy and questionable rulings.

This website will not advocate what voters should do when she comes up for retention this November but seeks to inform the Residents of Westmoreland County about Pezze's judicial record.

We recognize that all judges make mistakes and rulings they probably regret. What alarms us is the frequency of them in regards to Judge Pezze.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pezze and the Jennifer Daugherty Case

Judge Pezze could have kept one of those accused of killing Jennifer Daugherty from being on the streets; Repeatedly she refused against the urgings of the officers involved

Court records show that a Westmoreland County judge had several chances to put Smyrnes in prison for 23 months but opted to let him remain free. Here's the chain of events:
October 2008 - Smyrnes pleads guilty to assault and is sentenced to two to 23 months in prison. Judge Debra Pezze paroles him right away and orders anger management counseling.
April 2009 - Greensburg police charge Smyrnes with felony counts including burglary and conspiracy. The probation office asks Pezze to revoke parole and send him to prison. She revokes parole, then immediately re-paroles Smyrnes and orders more anger management counseling.
October 2009 - McKeesport police arrest Smyrnes for assault. The Westmoreland DA's office asks Pezze to revoke parole. Pezze allows parole to continue.

Read more:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pezze light sentence of sex offender appealed

Democrat District Attorney John Peck appealed this lenient sentence of Pezze

William J. Shockley, 36, was sentenced Jan. 5 by Judge Debra Pezze to 11 1/2 to 23 months in the county prison for burglary but was given five years' probation for sexually assaulting a 29-year-old Greensburg woman in 2007. He can leave the jail daily to work as a cook at Rizzo's Malabar Inn in Crabtree, according to court records and District Attorney John Peck.
Shockley was ordered to register with state police as a sex offender and to undergo drug and alcohol evaluation.
Peck said he will appeal to state Superior Court, arguing that Shockley's sentence falls below state sentencing guidelines that call for 48 to 66 months in prison.
In 2007, there were only three cases out of 3,080 in the state in which judges sentenced offenders to lesser sentences than those prescribed in the guidelines, according to the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing.
Shockley rejected a plea bargain of five to 10 years in prison, Peck said.
"It was a violent crime and the sentence was outside the guidelines established for such a crime," Peck said.

Read more: Sex offender's light sentence to be appealed - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pezze Soft on DUI?

Even Democrat District Attorney was puzzled by this ruling:

An Irwin woman was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 5 years in prison for her 10th and 11th DUI offenses since 1993, but District Attorney John Peck and Mothers Against Drunk Driving said she's getting off easy.
Prosecutors wanted Jessica Snyder to serve 7 to 14 years, but Judge Debra Pezze disagreed with that sentencing recommendation. Pezze didn't say why, although she did say she thinks the 41-year-old woman needs rehabilitation.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pezze's Sentences 18 months shorter than State Average in Cases Dealing with Sexual Assault on Children

From the Trib:

Despite Victims Plea Pezze Released a Sex Offender after Minimum Time Served

From the Trib:

That decision was opposed by a 30-year-old Greensburg woman, who said Shockley sexually assaulted her in 2007. The Tribune-Review does not identify victims of sexual assaults.
"He has threatened me several times. If his parole goes through, I'm going to be in danger," the woman told Pezze. "I can't even sleep at night. He's already threatened me numerous times. I just want him in jail."

Read more: Despite objections, Hempfield sex offender paroled from jail - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pezze's Politicking as a Judge

Judge Pezze is married to liberal blowhard Tom Balya, finally an outgoing County Commissioner.

She frequently campaigned for him during his campaigns. Here's a letter to the Tribune Review Questioning Her actions from August of 2001.

About the rule of law

Dear Editor:

In recent years much has been made of the concept of the (rule of law). This rule has several simple characteristics. First the rules are known in advance, are certain and are not changed in the middle of a proceeding. Second these rules allow people to pursue their own outcomes as long as they most importantly, these rules are applied to everyone equally regardless of their position in life.

In our society, only when the rule of law is upheld do we truly live in a free society. The arbiters of the rule of law are of course our judges. That is why when they do not follow the rule. For this reason the behavior of Judge Debra Pezze needs to be looked into thoroughly. According to the Code Of Judicial Conduct, Canon 7," A judge should refrain from political activity inappropriate to his or her Judicial Office." More specifically "a judge should not engage in any other political activity except on behalf of measures to improve the law, the legal system, or the administration justice."

Unfortunately, this is not conduct displayed by Judge Pezze. To date she has appeared in both print and television ads for her husband County Commissioner Tom Balya. This may seem to be not important, but it violates the rule of judicial conduct as outlined above. More importantly it also causes concern that her direct involvement in the election of her husband allows for a back door way to try to win favor with her. Is it any wonder that local trial attorneys are some of her largest contributors to Mr. Balya's campaign? If you were an attorney and needed a judge to rule favorably on your client's behalf would it not be in your best interest to help fund a candidate that a judge was actively campaigning for? This is no doubt why the judicial code of conduct was put in place. For this reason, the activities of Judge Pezze needs to be looked into in a more investigative manner. Otherwise, we are once faced with a public servant that acts as though she is above the rule of law. And without the rule of law there is no equal protection under the law.

For those of you who do not know, Judge Debra Pezze and Mrs. Tom Balya are one and the same person.

Gene Rosky Sr.,
Mount Pleasant

Read more: Our families: Protect the laws that protect them - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pezze Helps Release a Teenage Convict

Pezze's Letter was cited in releasing a man convicted of 3rd Degree Murder. From the Trib:

"In this case, I did check the space recommending Mr. Laskowski's release. I will say there was no evidence in the proceedings ... in discovery, the trial ... proving to me that (Laskowski) was the killer," Pezze said.

Read more: Teen convicted in Hempfield killing freed - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Yet he was convicted. Pezze substituted Her judgement for the Jury's here.