Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 12, 2014

No jail for Mongielo

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT - Auto mechanic David J. Mongielo will not serve any jail time for an electronic sign violation from August 2011. 

Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy, III ruled Friday that Mongielo will not serve 10 days in jail in lieu of a $750 fine. 

Mongielo, the owner of a Lockport auto repair shop, 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 ordinance bans electronic signs that change message or format more than once every 10 minutes. 

The sign, located in front of Mongielo’s Robinson Road business, reportedly was used in August 2011 to show a video advertising a fundraiser for a sheriff’s deputy. When the video was shown, Mongielo was still under his one-year conditional discharge from the first violation. 

Mongielo was convicted on the second sign ordinance violation in a December 2011 non-jury trial, but in September 2012, Murphy overturned that conviction, saying Mongielo was entitled to a jury trial.

In January, Mongielo was sentenced to 10 days in Niagara County Jail for the conditional discharge violation and had the second sign violation jury trial case dismissed by Town Justice Leonard G. Tilney, Jr. Tilney took over the case after Justice Raymond Schilling retired. Schilling oversaw the first four years of the case.

Following the jail time ruling, Mongielo’s attorney Frank Housh filed an appeal with Niagara County Court, which granted his client a stay from his jail sentence until the case could go before Murphy.

Friday, Murphy said in a 13-page decision that Mongielo will not serve the town ordered jail sentence.

“We’re pleased he’s not going to jail,” said Housh. 

Mongielo’s lawyer said they still believe this process was due to a “political prosecution.”

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