PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – One of the reasons drug tests are administered at the Allegheny County Courthouse is to make sure a defendant is not under the influence of drugs when he or she comes before a judge.
Any statements or decisions they make cannot be made under the influence of drugs. A system is in place to have defendants tested, if the judge has reason to believe the defendant’s actions are not the result of a sober mind.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Pittsburgh: Allegheny Co. Health Dept. Reports 430 New Cases, 1 Additional Death
But in this case investigators say one of the people administering those tests took bribes to give favorable test results to judges.
“You would hope that if you’re affiliated with the court system you’re going to uphold the integrity of the court system,” said Allegheny County Criminal Division Administrative Judge David Cashman. “And you know I was really offended when I found out that this guy was walking around with bottles of urine that he was switching so that he could make some money.”
Investigators have charged 28-year-old Roderick Diggs, a former employee of a non-profit contracted by the Allegheny County Health Department with bribery, theft by extortion and other related charges. He turned himself in today.
The criminal complaint says court administrator Thomas McCaffrey overheard a conversation between Diggs and a defendant names Mark Kinsella in the men’s bathroom on the fifth floor of the courthouse that McCaffrey thought was suspicious. Eventually the defendant told investigators the conversation led to an exchange of money at a window sill.
According to the criminal complaint, “The screener said…’How much you got?’ Kinsella related that he said $60. Kinsella related that he placed three $20 bills on the window sill and the screener took it … Kinsella added that he went back into the court and the screener told the judge the test was negative.”
Judge Cashman says the non-profit in question, Allegheny Health, Inc., no longer is used by the Criminal Division.
“We have not used that company since the day we found out about this,” he said. “The problem is they’re still being used by the Family Division so we’ve asked the court administration to put out a request for bids for another non-profit that we would have better control over.”READ MORE: UPMC, AHN To Pause Distribution Of Johnson And Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine After FDA, CDC Call For Pausing Use Due To Blood Clot Concerns
Cashman says watching the many defendants pass through his courtroom, there’s a need for reliable, quick testing within the courthouse.
“A lot of times you can literally tell by the way (defendants) operate,” he said. “I had a guy come in and he went to sit in the back row and he missed the chair as he was going to sit down – a pretty good indication that he was under the influence of something.”
The Allegheny County Health Department issued this statement:
Ron Sugar, Deputy Director of Administration for the Allegheny County Health Department, provided the following statement regarding Roderick Diggs and the future of the testing program for which Mr. Diggs had worked:
“Mr. Diggs was an employee of a non-profit entity, Allegheny County Health Inc. (ACHI), which was created by former Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dixon, and inherited by this administration. Mr. Diggs was terminated by ACHI in September 2014.”
“The Health Department is in the process of bringing the services currently provided by ACHI in-house. Job postings were made in December for the four positions and the Department is in the process of reviewing those applications before interviews and selections occur for those positions. An inter-departmental agreement has been put in place between the Health Department and the Department of Human Services to provide these services moving forward. Once the positions have been filled and the transition made to the Health Department, the non-profit will be dissolved.
“The Health Department has a fully-credentialed lab which is run by Dr. Robert M. Wadowsky, Sc.D., a well-respected and highly-credentialed laboratory professional. The processing of the Court-ordered tests will be handled solely by the Health Department lab under the new arrangement.”MORE NEWS: Watch The Derek Chauvin Trial Live