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!
Recently, Centre County, Pennsylvania defense attorneys received notice that the filing fees for expungements will increase from $15 to $75 effective January 2, 2014. The filing fee had remained at $15 for many years, even though it was costing the Clerk of Courts Office a lot more than $15 to handle the voluminous, bureaucratic paperwork and procedures associated with each expungement filing. With the increased fee, I suspect that the Centre County Clerk of Courts will go from losing money on expungements to making a small profit, which will offset losses in other areas.
On its face, it would appear that serving beer inside Beaver Stadium during Penn State football games would be throwing gasoline onto a fire. How could granting access to even more alcohol than the countless gallons of booze already guzzled in the Beaver Stadium parking lots possibly reduce the number of public drunkenness and disorderly conduct charges? As it turns out, serving beer in stadiums may be the classic example of the counter-intuitive approach being the best approach.
One of the most common questions I get as a criminal defense attorney is how long a misdemeanor or felony conviction will stay on a person's record. This is of particular concern to my client base, because I practice criminal law in State College, Pennsylvania, and most of my clients are Penn State students, who want a clean record when they start looking for a job upon graduation. The simple answer is that like diamonds, misdemeanor and felony convictions last forever. Having a criminal record is the biggest collateral consequence to a criminal conviction, and it can haunt you for the rest of your life.
Former Penn State All-American linebacker Dan Connor of the New York Giants was arrested on July 6, 2013, at Philadelphia International Airport and charged with the offense of "Prohibited Offensive Weapon," pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 908. Connor, the all time leading tackler in Penn State football's storied history, is accused of having a switchblade, which was discovered by TSA in a x-ray machine. Prohibited Offensive Weapon is a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 2.5 to five years incarceration and $10,000 fine, but most first time offenders can expect a sentence of probation, or they may even be accepted into a first time offenders program such as ARD, which allows defendants to avoid a criminal conviction.
People charged with a third DUI are a dime a dozen; they tend to simply be alcoholics who are extremely careless and who do not live within walking distance of where they drink. What is noteworthy, however, is a Pennsylvania woman who not only is on her third DUI, but also had a child in the car during her last two DUI arrests. When Joanna S. Smith was arrested in York County on May 27, 2013, she allegedly had a .22 BAC. To make matters far worse, she also had a six year old boy in the back seat.
Steelers offensive tackle Mike Adams was attacked by three men on the South Side of Pittsburgh in a failed car jacking attempt in the early morning hours of June 1, 2013. The robbers failed to steal Adams' truck, but one of the thugs stabbed him in the stomach and forearm before running off. Another one of the thugs pointed a handgun in Adams' face, but fortunately, was wise enough not to pull the trigger and add a second degree murder charge to the list of serious felonies, which the suspects will be charged with when they are tracked down. Adams is expected to make a full recovery and is in good spirits.
It is not just drunk drivers who cause carnage on the highways. Laura Gargiulo has been charged with homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter, as well as other charges, related to an accident on May 7, 2013, in Lawrence County. Police allege that the 42 year old defendant rear-ended a 68 year old man on a motorcycle, knocking him and the bike under her vehicle, in a fatale accident. Police allege that the defendant failed to stop or notice the biker, because she was distracted by an open text at the time of the collision.
For a long time, the legal limit for DUI in most states was a BAC of .10. By 2004, every state had lowered its DUI threshold to .08. Now, the National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that all states lower their BAC thresholds to .05. Not surprisingly, bar and restaurant owners associations are in an uproar, while Mother's Against Drunk Driving is praising the recommendation.
Not all DUIs are created equally. A 35 year old State College woman's recent misfortune provides a tutorial on just about every conceivable aggravating factor, which can be associated with a DUI, short of homicide while DUI or aggravated assault while DUI. The defendant was supposed to be in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas for sentencing on May 10, 2013. Not only did she fail to appear for sentencing, but she managed to get arrested by the Pennsylvania State Police in Perry County for a second DUI later that day. Obviously, had she begun serving her weekend in jail like she was supposed to, she would not have received a second DUI.