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Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 18 Mar 2014

-Mongielo May Be Headed to Jail for Clerical Error


Jury BoxDavid Mongielo may begin a 10-day jail sentence as early as Friday, effectively serving time in jail for a clerical error made by his attorney’s office. We recently posted this update on the case, asking whether this is actually judicial retribution against Mongielo after a jury acquitted him?

Town clerk says Mongielo appeal error wasn’t “malicious”

Town Clerk Nancy A. Brooks said last week that the failure to take an appeal notice for David J. Mongielo’s sign ordinance conviction to Town Court was not intentional.

“I certainly didn’t do anything maliciously,” Brooks said in an interview. “I have no reason to.”

The statement came as Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III granted a one-week delay in arguments over whether the combination of mistakes by Brooks and defense attorney Frank T. Housh is fatal to Mongielo’s hopes of appealing a 10-day jail sentence for violating his conditional discharge on a sign ordinance violation.

One of the first steps in filing an appeal is to give notice to the original court within 30 days. In this case, the clock started running Jan. 21, when Town Justice Leonard G. Tilney Jr. imposed the 10-day jail term on Mongielo for violating the town’s law against flashing signs.

He was convicted of that in a nonjury trial in 2010 and received a fine and a one-year conditional discharge from then-Justice Raymond E. Schilling. But before the year was up, Mongielo was cited for violating the ordinance again.

Although Tilney dismissed that charge, scrapping a planned jury trial, he imposed the sentence because Schilling already had found Mongielo guilty of violating the discharge in a hearing that didn’t require a jury.

Let’s consider the arithmetic of injustice here:
Mongielo’s sentence was imposed for a violation of which he stands not convicted, due to it being overturned. It was then stayed pending an appeal that has yet to be heard. If this stay is lifted, he will not be serving jail time for the offense of having a sign that changed too frequently to suit someone’s aesthetic preferences, but in fact, will be serving jail time for a clerical made by someone else over which he had no control whatsoever. If the stay of this sentence is lifted now, the arithmetic here is this:

0 days in jail for a crime
10 days in jail for a clerical error made by someone else

Does that seem just to you? Does that sound like a good use of taxpayers’ dollars?

This is what “justice” without juries looks like.