Blind Justice, or just plain blind! 
by Bill Gaffey

In Western Pennsylvania: Common Pleas Judge John Zottola  convicted Peter Dukovich, the fan/parent who attacked a basketball referee at  a high school basketball game last year of simple assault, but acquitted him of three other charges, including assault on a sports official in last year's Deer Lakes-Hampton basketball game.

Hampton fan Peter Dukovich (age 48 and 300 pounds) testified that he unwittingly attacked  high school basketball referee Ron Bell (age 58 and 160 pounds) in a moment of confusion. Bell's neck was so badly injured in the attack by Dukovich that he has not worked in almost a year.  Dukovich said he did not notice the black-and-white striped shirt Bell wore or the whistle he was using to try to bring order to the confusion on the basketball court. 

Zottola said Dukovich, 48, had lived an exemplary life until his confrontation with referee Ron Bell during a Feburary 6, 2004 game. Nothing would be gained by sending Dukovich to jail for an incident that was out of character with his history as a good parent and citizen, Zottola said.  This report comes from an article by Milan Simonich   in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  We feel that Zottola was wrong.

Common Pleas Judge John Zottola


Blind Justice 
by Daryl E. Horton

She stands there
Weighing my life in both hands
A cloth covers her eyes
While she tries to see the truth between two men
The scale tilts
Leaning to one side
But for who?
Blind eyes canít see a lie

Common Pleas Judge John Zottola  is an example of the liberal judges who are ruining our country.  Daryl Horton in his poem says "blind eyes can't see a lie."  To imagine that Judge Zottola could believe that Peter Dukovich could not identify Ron Bell as the basketball official at a game that he had been watching for an hour, and at a game in which his wife had been cursing the official, and that Bell was one of only two men wearing a stripped shirt is a terrible testament to the  County Judicial System.  How could you fail to  include assault on a sports official?  It's judges like Zottola that make a case for the "recall" process.

From Eastern Pennsylvania:  On Dec. 22nd, Monica Starrett (the Head Girl's Basketball Coach at Bloomsburg University) came out of the stands to loudly confront Danville girls coach Patty Romeo following the Ironmenís 50-22 loss to Milton. Starrett also issued a statement to the sportswriters present, threatening to do whatever possible to prevent Romeo from coaching the Danville varsity next season. Starrettís daughter, Kate Pawlowski, is a freshman point guard for Danville.
In the wake of that incident, the Danville school board banned Starrett from attending extracurricular activities at the high school. Then on New Yearís Eve, Bloomsburg announced that it had placed Starrett on immediate administrative leave, and has since elevated assistant Tammy Millsaps to coach the womenís team in the interim.  This report comes from an article by Matt Corbett in the Sunbury Daily Item.

Sports in Pennsylvania and across the nation have been tainted by the work of Judge Zottola and the poor judgment and boorish behavior of Coach Monica Starrett.  It's no wonder that some fans and parents and now a coach have become not just an embarrassment to their family and community, but even worse a threat to the sanity of sports.  The threat grows when the problem is not properly addressed!  In California in 2002, Dontravian Evans, 29, received a sentence of nine months in jail and a  felony assault conviction for punching a referee at a recreational basketball game in Long Beach. In addition to the jail sentence, Evans received three years probation and must pay $3,400 to the victim, referee Kevin Robinson, for medical bills. How bad was the referee to warrant being attacked?  Hey, at the time score was only 2-0, the game had just started!   Congratulations to the California Court for  provided a strict penalty.  And credit to Bloomsburg University and the Danville School Board for taking quick punitive action against Coach Starrett.  Shame on  Common Pleas Judge John Zottola.

(Credit: Milan Simonich  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Matt Corbett Sunbury Daily Item, National Association of Sports Officials, Daryl E. Horton)

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