Wednesday, July 23, 2014





Court briefs


August 06. 2013 11:50PM
By SHEENA DELAZIO

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WILKES-BARRE – A tentative June 2014 trial date has been set for a federal lawsuit filed by Luzerne County’s former election bureau director against the county and its manager, alleging he was terminated because he wasn’t politically affiliated.


In court papers filed last month, U.S. District Judge Richard Conaboy said Leonard Piazza’s lawsuit is tentatively scheduled for the June 2, 2014, trial list. Conaboy said that within the next four months he’ll schedule a conference for attorneys.


The suit requests more than $75,000 and that Piazza be reinstated as the county’s election bureau director.


Piazza had been placed on administrative leave beginning April 5, 2012, apparently due to his decision to audit the campaign finance reports of county Controller Walter Griffith. Piazza was terminated six days later.


Piazza alleges in his suit he was terminated because he was not politically affiliated with Griffith.


WILKES-BARRE – A Hazleton woman serving a sentence for allegedly causing a car accident in April 2012 that injured three people was sentenced to a prison term Monday on charges she violated her probation by assaulting workers at the Hazleton General Hospital.


Terri Krouse, 28, of Alter Street, appeared for a probation violation hearing in county court, where Judge Lesa Gelb re-sentenced Krouse to time served to one year in the county prison and one year probation.


Krouse was originally charged with three counts of reckless endangerment and one count of having an improper child restraint after a vehicle accident in April 2012.


Krouse pleaded guilty to the charges in April and was sentenced one month later to two years probation.


Prosecutors say Krouse violated that probationary sentence when she was arrested on July 4 for assaulting two workers at the Hazleton General Hospital and was in “a highly intoxicated state.” Gelb said Krouse would be immediately released from the prison pending any other detainers and must participate in the county’s Day Reporting Center.


WILKES-BARRE – A Blakeslee man charged with dragging a Freeland borough police officer 100 feet, which resulted in the officer receiving a head injury, will undergo a competency evaluation before it is determined if he will stand trial on related charges.


Michael Mokshefski, 29, was scheduled to stand trial this week on eight charges relating to the February 2012 incident.


Attorneys in the case said Mokshefski’s competency will be evaluated and his trial remains pending the outcome of that evaluation.


State police charged Mokshefski with aggravated assault and other charge after he allegedly dragged a police officer with his pickup truck on Ridge Street. Officer Matthew Williams was flown by helicopter to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center, Plains Township, where he was treated for head injuries and released.


Williams was interviewing Mokshefski in his Jeep Comanche while investigating a disturbance on Ridge Street and asked the driver to turn off the ignition, state police said. When Williams reached in and tried to turn off the ignition, Mokshefski drove away, state police said.


Mokshefski was apprehended near Effort, where he got out of his Jeep and fled into a wooded area along state Route 940, police said.


WILKES-BARRE – A man who pleaded guilty in March 2007 to a corruption of minors charge stated that should not have to register his address under Megan’s Law because a plea agreement does not specifically say he is required to register.


Traian Jovanov, 28, with a last known address of Pine Street, Hazleton, said in court papers filed Tuesday making the request through his attorney, Tom Marsilio.


In March 2007, Jovanov was sentenced to 40 to 80 months in prison on an unrelated escape charge and two years house arrest on the corruption of minors charge.


Police said Jovanov had inappropriate contact with a juvenile female in April 2006.


Marsilio wrote that nothing at the time required his client to register under Megan’s Law, but that now the county probation office is requiring Jovanov to do so.


Senior Judge Chester Muroski scheduled a hearing for Sept. 17.


SCRANTON — A Wilkes-Barre man has agreed to plead guilty for his alleged role in altering currency with bleach to change their value amount.


Fabian Forbes and his girlfriend, Brittany Ann Danko, of Wilkes-Barre, were initially charged by the U.S. Secret Service in June with conspiracy and distribution of counterfeit obligations. Under a negotiated plea deal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Tuesday filed an information against Forbes charging him with conspiracy to which he has agreed to plead guilty.


According to the information, Forbes and conspirators bleached $1 bills from December 2012 through June and scanned older $100 bills. The scanned $100 bills were then scanned onto bleached $1 bills to make counterfeit hundreds.


The information alleges Forbes and conspirators distributed the counterfeits at various retailers. In April, Forbes and conspirators purchased a genuine $100 bill from another person in exchange for 10 counterfeit $100 bills, according to the information.


A U.S. District Court judge must accept the plea deal between Forbes and federal prosecutors. He could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.


Danko is facing charges of conspiracy and distribution of counterfeit money in federal court.




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