Lawyers: Successful Appeals Unlikely

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It is not clear if former Lackawanna County Commissioner Bob Cordaro is in a holding facility or already in a federal prison after he and his partner A.J. Munchak were sentenced Monday for corruption.

For disgraced former commissioners, their attorneys plan to appeal their convictions on federal corruption charges and the sentences they received.

Some local defense attorneys have kept an eye on the Cordaro/Munchak case. They said Tuesday the chance the commissioners could be exonerated is very slim.

“I feel like the chance of being successful in an appeal, and anyone could appeal, but the chance of being successful I think is very slight,” said defense attorney John Petorak.

In fact, statistics are not on their side. According the the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, where Cordaro and Munchak’s appeals will be reviewed, out of more than 4,000 cases last year only 192 were reversed. That’s only a 4.7 percent success rate.

“The nature of the case, obviously, people have a distaste for public corruption, and obviously, the judges that hear the case are not going to be leaning to them with favor because of the fact that they’re public officials,” explained defense attorney Paul Walker.

He added Cordaro and Munchak also have slim chance of changing their sentences, seven years for Munchak and 11 for Cordaro, since the sentences are lower than what prosecutors sought.

“I think they got a tremendous deal, a tremendous sentencing deal. I was surprised at the sentence for Munchak. I think he presented a good case in terms of mitigation but, they both were under the guideline range. I don’t know what reasons the judge gave for departure but, they got a really good sentence,” Walker added.

Bob Cordaro was taken into custody immediately after his sentencing.

Munchak will head to prison in April.

The former commissioners will have to serve their entire sentences. There is no parole in the federal system.