Rolf Larsen, only impeached Pa. Supreme Court justice, dies at 79

By The Penn Record | Aug 14, 2014

Rolf Larsen, the only Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice to be impeached and removed from office, died Monday from his battle against cancer at the Charles Morris Nursing Center in Pittsburgh.

Larsen's career took off in 1974 when he began aggressively going after deadbeat dads as an Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas judge, sending them to jail when they did not keep up with their child support obligations.

He was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1977, but in the 1980s began running into trouble while serving on the bench. In 1981, Larsen convinced his doctor to write prescriptions in his staff members' names for drugs to help him in his struggle against clinical depression and anxiety. According to his testimony before a 1992 grand jury, Larsen feared his mental illnesses would become public knowledge.

Larsen was convicted of two felony counts of conspiracy following the grand jury investigation. He was removed from the bench, then impeached by a 199-0 vote in the state House. The Senate later convicted Larsen of improperly meeting with an attorney who influenced the justice's decisions to accept or reject appeals.

Larsen was born in Pittsburgh on Aug. 26, 1934. He has been married and divorced twice. He had two brothers and a daughter.

Funeral arrangements have not been made public at this time.

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