All public defenders worth their salt are verbally assaulted by judges from time to time, but a Brevard County, Florida judge took things to another level when he physically attacked a public defender in the hallway, after the two verbally sparred in the courtroom. When Public Defender Andrew Weinstock refused to waive his client's constitutional right to a speedy trial, Judge John Murphy became enraged, stating "if I had a rock I would throw it at you right now. Stop pissing me off. Just sit down." When Weinstock pointed out that he had a right to be present and represent his client, Judge Murphy said "if you want to fight, let's just go out back and I'll beat your ass." Ironically, Attorney Weinstock was representing a defendant charged with two counts of assault when Judge Murphy made this threat.
A teacher and football coach in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania has been charged with the summary offenses of criminal mischief and harassment, arising from a March 25, 2014, incident in which Pennsylvania State Police allege that 45 year old Michael C. Smith shoved a student into the wall of his classroom, breaking a thermostat. Police allege that Mr. Smith became angry when a 16 year old male juvenile farted in his classroom. Mr. Smith has since been suspended by the school district. What is unclear from media reports is whether the juvenile did it on purpose or under what circumstances, but one of Smith's supporters, who is a softball coach at another high school posted online "I guess the elephant in the room is, what do you do if a kid farted in your face?"
I am a hardcore Penn State football fan, and it appears that only we ultras seem to care enough about position battles, player evaluations and the new coaching staff's schemes to venture into Beaver Stadium to actually watch the game. For the casual fans and those not even into football, the Blue and White Game has become a major springtime holiday in Central Pennsylvania. It celebrates the return of warm weather by "tailgating," which can mean anything from elaborate outdoor feasts to standing in the parking lot drinking cheap beer.
Even though there is no chance that Penn State can lose, not everyone will leave the Beaver Stadium parking lots happy. The nicer the weather, the greater the number of alcohol-related summary offense citations like underage drinking, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief, not to mention far more serious misdemeanor charges like DUI, simple assault and resisting arrest. Wherever there is a large concentration of people drinking, there will be a certain percentage of people who fail to drink responsibly.
But not everyone charged with an alcohol-related offense was necessarily out of control or obnoxious. For Penn State, State College and Pennsylvania State Police, handing out underage drinking citations around Beaver Stadium is like shooting fish in a barrel, and a lot of these young people do not even get a chance to finish their first drink before being hassled by the Man. If you look young, and are holding a beer or even a red plastic cup, the police are going to check your ID. Obviously, there are so many underage drinkers at a Penn State game that only a tiny fraction of young people will be cited, but small percentage of a very large number is still a lot of people.
I understand that the lure of partying is far stronger for most people than an inter-squad scrimmage game with interest only to football nerds like me, but if you are not going into the game, you really should not drink around Beaver Stadium if you are under 21. Normally, when people commit a crime, they at least try not to get caught. Drinking in a public place in broad daylight in an area patrolled by hundreds of cops simply invites trouble.
If you are charged with underage drinking or any other alcohol-related offense, it is important to talk to a local criminal defense lawyer, who knows the cops, judges and the local rules of criminal procedure. Even if you are factually guilty, an attorney can often find ways to mitigate your damages, such as assuring that you escape without a criminal conviction on your record.
Matt McClenahen is a Penn State alumnus and State College criminal defense lawyer, whose office is a five minute walk from campus. http://www.mattmlaw.com/Criminal-Defense-Overview/Alcohol-Offenses-DUI.shtml
A Pennsylvania woman charged with aggravated assault for allegedly trying to cut off her husband's penis with a box cutter created tabloid headlines around the world earlier this month. Lisa Jones-Orock of Lawrence County was arrested on March 15, 2014, on both an outstanding bench warrant in a DUI case, as well as aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment and small amount of marijuana based upon a domestic dispute, which apparently got way out of hand.
While State Patty's Day mayhem is but a mere shell of its former self, it appears the tradition of IU Patty's Day is just gaining traction. Although the IUP student-created holiday has been around since 2012, it did not attract much notoriety until this past weekend, when things got out of hand. Videos show drunken young people blocking traffic, walking around with open containers of alcohol, jumping on cars, fighting, throwing objects and screaming and yelling.
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!
Zayd Issah, an erstwhile highly touted linebacker in the 2013 Penn State recruiting class, has accepted a favorable plea offer, which will spare him a violent felony conviction and additional jail time. During Arts Fest in downtown State College last summer, Issah was involved in an altercation with police, leading to two counts of aggravated assault on police officers, one count of simple assault, five counts of resisting arrest and one count of possession of small amount of marijuana for personal use. Pursuant to the plea agreement accepted by Judge Pamela A. Ruest of the Centre County Court of Common Pleas, Issah pled guilty to simple assault, resisting arrest and possession of a small amount of marijuana for a sentence of five days to 23.5 months. Issah previously served five days before posting bail, so he will serve additional jail time in this case only if he violates parole.
A 37 year old Central Pennsylvania women has been charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child in Lebanon County, after leaving an eight month old baby in a sweltering car for over two hours in July of this year. The baby barely survived, and is now brain-damaged, blind and deaf. The defendant, Damaris Manrique, had been the baby's legal guardian.
Every experienced criminal defense lawyer has had his share of clients who managed to turn a mere summary offense into a serious felony like aggravated assault, based upon their interactions with law enforcement at the time of arrest. A common scenario involves a drunk Penn State student exhibiting the fight or flight instinct when confronted by the police for minor offenses like underage drinking, public drunkenness or urinating in public. While fighting a cop is obviously creates a no-win situation, running away is not a good choice either. When confronted by police, it is in the suspect's own best interests to be cooperative.
A 25 year old South Carolina stripper has been charged with misdemeanor assault after striking a 31 year old strip club patron in the face five or six times. It appears that both Nicole Passmore (stripper name not available) and Earnest Kadlick both violated well established strip club rules of etiquette. First of all, Kadlick had left money sitting on his table, which Passmore picked up as she started to dance for Kadlick. When Kadlick protested that he did not want her to dance for him, she straddled him and began to give him a lap dance. The correct strip club etiquette requires the stripper to ask, rather than assume, that a customer wants a dance. Secondly, the dancer should wait for the patron to give her the money for a lap dance. It is not like a bar where money left on the counter is assumed to be a tip; there are any number of strippers on the floor at once, and that money could be meant for someone else. Unlike bartenders or coffee shop baristas, strippers do not share their tips at the end of the night. If, however, the tip is left on the stage while the stripper is dancing, then it is clearly meant to be a tip for the stage show.