November 4, 1987 |
Rolf Larsen, Pennsylvania's most-talked-about judge, has won another 10- year term to the state Supreme Court. In so doing, the controversial Pittsburgh Democrat has continued a state tradition: no appellate judge has ever lost a retention election. With 95 percent of the statewide vote counted, Larsen had 1,012,883 "yes" votes, or 63 percent of the total, and 572,919 "no" votes. In the only other statewide retention election, Commonwealth Court President Judge James C. Crumlish of Philadelphia was winning retention by a 3-to-1 margin.
September 10, 1994 |
In a wide-ranging defense of his 16 years as a justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Rolf Larsen took the stand yesterday and denied all of the accusations leveled against him in seven articles of impeachment. He denied giving special treatment to lawyer-friends. He denied having improper private discussions with a lawyer and a judge. He denied testifying falsely under oath before the state grand jury. And he denied misusing the legal system by filing accusations about other justices.
April 10, 2010 |
Ronald Castille remembers getting sideways looks for years after state Supreme Court Justice Rolf Larsen was impeached. The looks came at national judicial conferences, when Castille, now the court's chief justice, was recognized as hailing from Pennsylvania. Judges from other states would ask, " 'Isn't that the state where one justice tried to run over another justice?' " Castille recalled Friday, referring to the controversy that so damaged the court's image in the 1990s.
October 29, 1993 |
Long before he was a justice of the state Supreme Court, an ambitious lawyer running for county office devised an unusual campaign strategy. He plastered downtown Pittsburgh with yellow happy-face stickers saying "Smile - Rolf Larsen is coming. " The smiles have faded now. Yesterday, Larsen was charged with illegally using his employees to obtain prescription tranquilizers for his own use. The criminal charges may lead to impeachment, and it is clear that the 59-year-old Pittsburgh Democrat faces the fight of his life.
October 31, 1987
They won't be hammering out statues of Rolf Larsen to stand beside the giants of American jurisprudence. In fact, Rolf Larsen may be about the worst excuse for a state Supreme Court justice imaginable. There are serious questions about the most important thing any judge must have - his integrity. Some 63 percent of Philadelphia lawyers polled by the Bar Association had serious doubts about his integrity. Larsen has been accused of using his high office for personal reasons.
February 9, 1986
The attorney for Justice James T. McDermott of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has written to me complaining about my letter published on Feb. 2. The letter as I wrote it may be considered ambiguous in that someone might conclude that I said I was being sued by Justice McDermott. To correct the ambiguity, I hereby note that I am being sued only by one Supreme Court justice, Rolf Larsen, and I am not being sued by either Justice McDermott or Superior Court Judge Stephen J. McEwen Jr., as The Inquirer is. Robert B. Surrick Media.
April 21, 1986
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices Stephen A. Zappala and Rolf Larsen have a solution for ridding the state of what they call the "noxious cloud of misfeasance emanating" from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas: A "complete transition from the president judge on down. " So much for reasoned solutions to serious problems. The Supreme Court majority, equally concerned about abuses, devoted more than two minutes of vituperativeness to constructively address the situation and take action to reorganize the administration of the courts to hold judges more accountable for their conduct.
October 12, 1987
In 1977, Rolf Larsen ran for justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. You would have thought he was running for sheriff of Dodge City. In 1877. In effect, he promised mostly to seek out the criminals who were allegedly stalking every person in the commonwealth at the time, then hang them - after a trial, of course. In case you hadn't noticed, the criminals are still around. So is Rolf Larsen, who's running for retention on the state's highest court. Better we should elect a talking duck.
October 29, 1987 |
In an attempt to counter what his strategists believe is negative publicity, Rolf Larsen, who is campaigning for a second 10-year term on Pennsylvania's Supreme Court, is spending $90,000 on television and radio advertising. The ads are being aired in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh only and are scheduled to run through Monday, the day before Election Day. Newspapers in both cities have been critical of Larsen, especially in the last month. During this period, Larsen raised $157,000, according to campaign expense reports on file in Harrisburg.
April 7, 1994 |
At 7 p.m., Rolf Larsen broke out the bagels, handing one to Jill Costopoulos, wife of his attorney, and chewing on another himself as he stood in the courtroom waiting for the action to resume. His trial on charges of fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs would go on until 8 last night, but the embattled state Supreme Court justice was prepared for the long day, having arrived with a plastic bag full of bagels. In fact, the third day of his trial in the Allegheny County Courthouse had gone pretty well for Larsen, 59. Prosecutor Lawrence N. Claus rested his case in mid-afternoon, after presenting a series of medical experts who testified that it was improper for someone to obtain drugs from prescriptions written in the names of other people, as Larsen had done.