Niagara Gazette

Courts

July 29, 2013

Mistrial declared as Mongielo sign trial begins

A mistrial was declared Monday afternoon in the ongoing sign case involving David J. Mongielo.

Lockport Town Justice Raymond E. Schilling made the decision following a motion by Mongielo's attorney, Frank Housh. Housh said in court that Schilling began the jury selection process without a court reporter present.

Today was the start of jury selection for Mongielo's trial. Not a single juror had been interviewed as potential jurors sat in court for about an hour.

Schilling said Housh has until Oct. 1 to file motions.

Mongielo is to be tried for violating the town’s electronic sign ordinance that prohibits signs from changing the format or message more than once every 10 minutes. It's the second time Mongielo has been charged with violating the ordinance.

The Town of Lockport auto shop owner was originally sentenced to 15 days in Niagara County Jail and fined on April 17, 2012 in Lockport Town Court.

The jail sentence was the result of the violation coming within the one-year conditional discharge Mongielo received on Sept. 14, 2010 for his first violation of the sign ordinance. The condition for the discharge was that Mongielo could not break the sign ordinance again.

But, Niagara County Judge Matthew Murphy’s ruled in October the second conviction had to be overturned and a new trial given.

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