LANCASTER — An ophthalmologist and lawyer from Atlanta was charged with perjury and other offenses Friday after police say he lied about his qualifications in five central Pennsylvania counties during expert testimony for the defense in driving-under-the-influence cases.
Authorities filed five sets of charges against Dr. Joseph Citron. Messages left for him seeking comment were not immediately returned.
Citron, 68, was accused of inflating his connection with the Georgia Public Safety Training Center and making up a program in Georgia he called “Drunkbusters.”
The Pennsylvania charges — multiple counts of perjury and false swearing, and a single count of unsworn falsification — stem from testimony in cases in Centre, Clinton, Dauphin, Lancaster and Lebanon counties between 2010 and 2012.
Police said Citron claimed to have spent 10 years with the training center, teaching officers standard field sobriety techniques. A check of the training center indicated he was only guest lecturer at the center’s fire academy on the topic of eye injuries, police said.
Citron also claimed that in 2000 the governor of Georgia asked him to participate in Drunkbusters, but Georgia law enforcement officials said they had no record of such a program, according the arrest affidavits filed Friday.
Police said Citron told an investigator in August he exaggerated his credentials “because it sounds good.”
Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold said he was not suspicious of Citron’s qualifications before being alerted to possible problems from another county, but he had other questions about the doctor’s testimony.
“I wasn’t convinced they were genuine opinions but I never really thought his qualifications were necessarily suspect,” Arnold said Friday.
Clinton County prosecutor Karen Kuebler said the cases are being consolidated in Lancaster County, in part because her county only has two judges and Citron testified before both, making them potential witnesses.
Kuebler said Lancaster prosecutors contacted their colleagues in other counties through an existing communications network they share.
“The district attorneys in Pennsylvania do keep in touch with each other, and we do obviously talk about the experts that appear in any case,” she said.
The cases were all filed at a district court in Lancaster, where court officials said he did not have a lawyer on file. Citron is expected to be arraigned next week.