Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III will decide July 11 whether to grant David J. Mongielo a permanent stay of the 10-day jail sentence Mongielo received last year.
The Lockport auto shop owner appeared in court Thursday for oral arguments concerning his appeal of the jail sentence. At the end of the hearing, Murphy told Mongielo's attorney Frank Housh to prepare his client to start serving the sentence July 11 if Murphy rules in favor of the town.
Mongielo was originally sentenced in Lockport Town Court for breaking the conditional discharge he’d received in 2010 when he was sentenced for his first violation of the Town of Lockport’s electronic sign ordinance.
The town’s ordinance bans electronic signs that change message or format more than once every 10 minutes. The electronic sign in front of Mongielo’s Robinson Road business reportedly was used to show a video advertising a fundraiser in August 2011, which is when he was still under the one-year conditional discharge.
Mongielo was convicted of that second ordinance violation in a December 2011 nonjury trial, but in September 2012, Murphy overturned that conviction, saying Mongielo was entitled to a jury trial.
In January, Mongielo was sentenced for the conditional discharge violation and had the jury trial case dismissed by Town Justice Leonard G. Tilney Jr. Tilney took the case from retiring Justice Raymond E. Schilling, who oversaw the first four years of the Mongielo case.
During Thursday's hearing, Housh argued there were a number of legal issues with the sentence. Tilney's decision interfered with Mongielo's constitutional right to a trial, Housh argued.
When asked by Murphy if dismissing the jury case benefited his client, Housh said Mongielo was anxious to tell his story to a jury.
"That's why he wanted a jury trial," he said.