The RI Supreme Court has ordered Judge Lallo to reimburse the
state. Former Judge John F. Lallo, who often went to a casino
on working days, must return wages for some of the hours he spent
gambling. John F. Lallo, who retired in 1998 after 20 years
in the Administrative Adjudication Court, was at the Ledyard,
Conn., casino on 66 occasions between 1993 and 1997 when he was
supposed to be on Harris Avenue.
On Monday, the state Supreme Court ruled that Lallo must return his wages for the work hours he spent gambling. The justices also ordered Lallo's removal as a judicial officer -- a mostly symbolic gesture that strips Lallo of his title, but not his pension.
"It is clear that respondent's conduct, in regularly absenting himself from his courtroom during normal working hours and engaging in the pastime of gambling in a public casino, was unacceptable and has cast disrepute on his judicial office," the high court ruled.
The decision comes less than a month after the Supreme Court revoked Lallo's license to practice law. That action was in response to Lallo's guilty plea in December to a federal charge of lying under oath on a bankruptcy application he filed in 1996. Lallo, 69, of Westerly, is serving six months' home confinement in that case. He was also sentenced to two years' probation and ordered to avoid gambling and casinos. Lallo's felony conviction was enough on its own to remove him from judicial office.
After agreeing to admit that he'd skipped work to gamble, Lallo was given a hearing before the commission to make his case for more lenient treatment. Encouraged by the assurance that the session would remain private, Lallo testified on his own behalf. Operation Clean Government asked the Supreme Court to release a transcript of the Oct. 18 hearing. The court granted the request. The justices found that under state law and the court rules, a public hearing could be waived only with the prior consent of the Supreme Court, and only after the accused judge has formally accepted the recommended sanction. Lallo was given a private hearing without meeting either of those conditions, the high court found, and as a result, he's not entitled to keep his privacy. Lallo was also disbarred from practicing law.