Former Chief’s Plea Deal Called Unusual

SCRANTON — A former police chief from Lackawanna County who was arrested last year may not learn his sentence for another seven years because of an unusual plea deal that was set in motion Monday.

Former Scott Township Police Chief James Romano has come to the Lackawanna County Courthouse in Scranton five times this year expecting to be sentenced for hindering prosecution.

That sentencing had been delayed because of disagreements over his plea deal, which attorneys and the judge say is unusual.

It became official on Monday: James Romano may not be sentenced until after his 50th birthday.

Whenever we hear stories about public officials being charged with a crime, whether or not they’ll get their public pension often comes into play. It was a concern for former Scott Township Police Chief James Romano

Romano was arrested for allegedly having sex with a witness set to testify against a teacher accused of sex with a student.

Romano pleaded no contest to one count of hindering prosecution, a misdemeanor. He agreed to resign and give up his career as a police officer.

But, he still wants his pension.

“We have not hidden the fact that that has been the primary issue. We wanted to preserve that pension for him because he had significant time as a law enforcement officer up to that point, the point that he was charged,” said Romano’s attorney Frank Ruggiero.

Romano’s attorney says the problem is that they may not know for sure if Romano will get his pension from the state until he is eligible on his 50th birthday, seven years from now.

Since Romano’s plea, now two judges have agreed to hold off on sentencing him until he knows for sure.

That means Romano’s case stays open, he stays out on bail, and his case could still go to trial.

“It’s unique, I think it’s unique but I think this case is unique because of Romano’s facts and, of course, the pension,” Ruggiero added.

Lackawanna County President Judge Thomas Munley agreed to hold off on sentencing Romano until attorneys know for sure that he will receive his state pension after his 50th birthday.

Judge Munley said he had never heard of such a plea deal. It was originally crafted in front of a visiting judge who can no longer preside over the case.

20 comments

  • Kat

    This will go on for so long no one will even remember what it was all about and he will remain free. This is already so confusing and wrong on so many levels it’s hard to pick out the real issue already.

  • AFINKSTER

    No matter what the crime is, that this Untrustworthy Public Servant committed, does not give the Judicial Branch the authority to delay this case’s sentencing. This is not Justice being served and it should be appealed to a higher Court. The Prosecution has the duty to make this happen. Crony Politics is being played here. The Judge and the District Attorney need term limited out by the voters come next election.

    And all retirement by Public Employees and Elected Officials should not be paid out until the age of the common citizen’s retirement age.

    Chances are the deal was made as to let the case be brushed under the rug. For a Police Chief probably has the goods on other supposed to be, public officials. I’m sure we would love to see his case files of the other crony’s in positions of authority over the citizenry.

  • Better than you

    @ Joe again…… The girl is well out of high school and not 18. Good try tho!!! Props to you for making yet another, assumption! Have a terrific day!!!! When you research what your talking about and educate yourself, feel free to respond. Until then, shut your mouth. Thank you…..

  • Charlie Lucky

    Lackawanna County President Judge Thomas Munley agreed to hold off on sentencing Romano until attorneys know for sure that he will receive his state pension after his 50th birthday. WTF?????? Why does the Judge care if the POS gets a pension??? Because he was a cop??? So if it was a common blue collar worker, would the judge also let him wait until he gets his pension?? I don’t think so !! FIRE MUNLEY and put Romano away, DONE.

      • JP

        Maybe question what your local representatives get after serving only 4 years. Those who make the rules have the best deals, and people keep voting them in. i.e. Corbett 800+K in campaign bribes (oops, contributions) and a pension that exceeds anything any other state worker would ever think of getting for only serving one term (I hope). This guy should be out of a pension and be getting sentencing within appropriate time, just like the rest of us would. Someone knew someone and that is how it works. Sad but true.

  • Brenda

    He gets to defer sentencing for seven years? So he can change his mind and ask for another trial, which means the tax payers get to foot the bill again. People can’t defer sentencing to care for children, but he can defer it not for seven weeks, or even seven months, but for seven YEARS?!?!?! Noooooooo…..nothing crooked about that. What are the chances he’s still here in Lackawanna county for seven years? What are the chances his shyster lawyer, who seems to be connected to a lot of “unusual” cases lately, won’t find a way to make his the pepper work associated with this case get “lost” in the intervening years? Corruption is alive and well in NEPA!

  • marbs

    I guess he is hoping no one will remember in 7 years. Well the first question that will be asked by the pension board will be are any disciplinary or criminal charges related to his employment pending? When he says yes they will say come back after they are adjudicated. So this maneuver hopefully will accomplish nothing.

  • Bill D

    Isn’t it amazing how these snakes skate? delayed 7 years over a pension, I never heard such a thing! Rescind the deal and go to trial! Bet he kisses a$$ and takes whatever they give him then!

  • jellystoneranger

    He gets nothing ! Hear that ? That’s what you get when you betray the trust as a public servant ! Democrat system ! Protect the guilty at all cost. Unions ! Wake up citizens ! Its time to stop rubber stamping all these Democrat judges , Mayors, reps, senators ,school board members etc around here. It’s all about the money grab. They get away with this around here all the time. They make me want to puke . These kind of people are the ones sitting in judgement of you and me ?

  • Convicted

    I plead guilty to a misdeomenor 6 years ago, can’t get a job, had my pesion taken away from myself- Where is my reward for years of service? This state should be taken over by the feds already, the corruption is STILL here.

  • joe

    He has sex with an 18 year old highschool “woman”, gets a pension and a misdemeanor, while the teacher who did the same thing is considered asexual predator. I say fry him.

    • Better than you

      The girl was NOT 18 nor in High School. The only reason this whole show is going on is because the Attorney Generals office jumped the gun on yet another arrest costing the tax payers more and more money. I wish people in this area would educate themselves to realize the leaders of this area ( or do they call themselves) are raping the taxpayers of money. Kathleen Jane arrested this man for supposably “having an affair with a witness”, how was she a witness? She didn’t go to the same school the crime happened and she couldn’t be a character witness due to her heroin addiction. Tell me again why we are wasting money on this??? Oh yea, because Kathleen Kane made so many other mistakes she has to cover then up with bogus charges. She is the one that should be impeached with no retirement. She got where she is on her daddy’s money and now she’s using the taxpayers money for her games. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!

      • joe

        Romano’s a dirt bag. If its a felony for a teacher to have sex with a 18 year old student, because they are a person of authority to the student. Then how much authority does a police “chief” have over the same students/adults. Why should we have to pay his pension.

        Besides any 40 year man whose banging a highschool student with a heroin addiction is super greasy. Let alone a police chief involved in the case.

      • Better than you

        @ Joe. Your a poor excuse for a human being. You don’t even know what your talking about but make accusations. You should work for Kathleen Kane, unless you already do of course. You should really educate yourself so you don’t sound so silly. That goes for pretty much everyone in this area. The new stations and the AGs office are always going to support each other even in lies. I hope for your sake “Joe” that they don’t target you next.

      • joe

        “She didn’t go to the same school the crime happened and she couldn’t be a character witness due to her heroin addiction.” Your statement. Your facts.

        So you wouldn’t consider a 40 year old police chief who’s banging a 18 year old high school heroin addict a dirt bag? Sounds pretty grimey to me. It’s easy to see what kind of morals you have.

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