A Pennsylvania aggravated assault defendant is no longer a fugitive, after police in Luzerne County used FaceBook to nab 35 year old Anthony "Jimi" Lescowitch, but certainly not in the way the police had anticipated. The Freeland Police Department posted a mug shot from one of Lescowitch's many prior arrests on their FaceBook page, urging the public to notify law enforcement if they had any information about the fugitive. In what may be a first in the young history of social media, Mr. Lescowitch shared the Freeland Police Department's digital wanted poster on his own FaceBook page!
This "world's dumbest criminal" story has quickly spread around the world. Some media outlets speculated that Lescowitch may have accidentally shared the police FaceBook post. After all, who would be dumb enough to do such a thing intentionally. It turns out that it was no accident. Lescowitch and his FaceBook friends commented on the status on Lescowitch's FaceBook wall, with Lescowitch writing "lol I fucking love it asshole," in an ill-advised show of hubris.
Lescowitch was apprehended when he fell for one of the oldest police tricks in the book: a police officer posing as an attractive, sexually available female interested in him. When Lescowitch showed up for a rendezvous with the non-existent woman, police took him into custody.
There are various forms of aggravated assault, which can be graded as either a first or second degree felony. According to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts website, Lescowitch is charged with the first degree felony version, punishable by a maximum penalty of 10 to 20 years and a $25,000 fine. Only people with a very bad prior record are in danger of receiving the maximum penalty, but unfortunately for Lescowtich, he has not been a good boy during the past 14 years.
Although Lescowitch has an extensive prior criminal record, he has benefited from some very favorable plea agreements over the years. He has three prior DUI convictions, one of which occurred in a vehicle he had not been authorized to drive. He also had a prior burglary charge, which was pled down to a criminal trespass, graded as a second degree felony. He had prior charges of arson and risking a catastrophe in 2010, which were pled down to reckless burning, graded as a third degree felony. In 2004, he had an aggravated assault charge, which was pled down to a simple assault. It will be interesting to see whether Lescowitch will continue his winning streak with plea agreements, or whether his luck will finally run out this time.
Matt McClenahen is a criminal defense attorney in State College, Pennsylvania, home of Penn State University.