Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The location for David J. Mongielo’s third trial will be Lockport Town Court, a fact confirmed by Justice Raymond E. Schilling’s denial of a change of venue request Tuesday.
Now all the trial needs is a date. Town Prosecutor Bradley Marble and Frank Housh, Mongielo’s attorney, will return Dec. 3 to decide that.
Mongielo, the auto shop owner who’s accused of violating the town’s electronic sign ordinance, had filed a pair of motions asking for a change of venue and a hearing on selective prosecution.
Schilling denied the change in venue because the town court doesn’t have the authority to make that call, the judge wrote in his decision.
“A change of venue motion must be made to a Niagara County Court Judge,” Schilling wrote.
The motion was made in part because Mongielo didn’t believe he could receive a fair trial in Lockport because of the notoriety of his legal battle with the town over his sign and because of his own clashes with town officials.
Schilling’s decision said the question of whether a trial can be fair in light of community prejudice or extensive publicity is not addressed in the law.
Even if it was addressed, Schilling said the court would deny the motion because the “papers (Mongielo’s filing) do not allege the standard of proof necessary to sustain a transfer and because of the defendant’s own actions to involve the Fourth Estate into this case.”
Mongielo’s request for a hearing on selective prosecution was denied because of a lack of evidence, according to the decision.
There is a good chance the trial won’t be held until 2014. Housh said Tuesday that he has another case, a lengthy U.S. District Court drug trial, slated to start Dec. 10, that will probably keep him from being available for most of December.