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Function of Juries & Jury Nullification | 23 Mar 2014

-Appeal for Trial by Jury in Sign Ordinance Case Goes Forward


Jury BoxA few days ago, we reported on the convoluted situation in the case of David Mongielo, who risks going to jail for allegedly violating a town sign ordinance with a sign that changed messages too frequently. The sentence in his case had been stayed while he appealed the conviction by a judge after he was denied his right to trial by jury. Due to a clerical error by his attorney’s office, however, he was at risk of going to jail without his appeal being heard. It appears as of Friday that rather than throwing out the appeal and lifting the stay on his sentence as he had initially threatened, the judge in the case will allow the appeal to go forward. Local media in this case have speculated whether jury nullification might play a role in the case if Mongielo does end up being allowed to make his case before a jury.

Mongielo gets ‘last chance’ for an appeal

David J. Mongielo, the auto repair shop owner who faces a 10-day jail term for violating the Town of Lockport’s law against flashing signs, will be allowed to present his appeal despite mistakes by his attorney.

Even though court precedents would have justified throwing out Mongielo’s appeal and sending him to jail because of paperwork errors by defense attorney Frank T. Housh, Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy said Friday, “True justice will be served only by permitting the defendant to have the appeal on his underlying conviction heard on the merits.”

Murphy gave Housh until 4 p.m. next Friday “to file a proper notice of appeal.” After that, Housh will have until May 2 to submit an accompanying legal brief. Town Prosecutor Bradley D. Marble will have until June 6 to write a response, and the appeal will be argued before Murphy at 3 p.m. June 12. The stay of the 10-day sentence was extended to that date.