Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — If David J. Mongielo doesn’t show up to Lockport Town Court on May 7, a bench warrant will be issued for his arrest, Town Justice Raymond Schilling ruled last week.
The auto shop owner was due to appear in court Wednesday but did not show. So, Schilling said, a criminal summons would be sent to Mongielo ordering him to appear in court May 7.
By phone Wednesday night, Mongielo said he didn’t show because he claimed the town court didn’t have jurisdiction. He had filed a motion to dismiss the charges he’s facing based on that argument, but the motion was denied last month.
Mongielo said the court’s authority isn’t based on constitutional law. He cited Schilling’s written decision on the motion, which said the court’s jurisdiction over Mongielo was based partially on a plea that was entered and the fact Mongielo showed up to court.
Mongielo said he only showed up to court in order to argue for his rights.
“And I never entered a plea,” Mongielo said.
A not guilty plea was entered on Mongielo’s behalf by Schilling, according to court documents. A judge entering a not guilty plea on behalf of a defendant who refuses to answer is allowed by law.
But, Schilling’s written decision also said the court’s jurisdiction was based on the creation of the state’s court system, which was done in the state constitution and with the Uniform Justice Court Act. State criminal procedure law says town courts have trial jurisdiction over misdemeanors and violations.
Town Prosecutor Bradley Marble told Schilling that Mongielo had informed the town court staff he would not appear Wednesday.
“The defendant seems to have issues with this court’s jurisdiction,” Schilling said from the bench.
Mongielo is charged with violating the town’s electronic sign ordinance that prohibits them from changing the format or message more than once every 10 minutes. It’s the second time Mongielo has faced such a charge.