Niagara Gazette

Local News

January 22, 2014

Mongielo granted stay of 10-day jail term

Niagara Gazette — A Town of Lockport man's 10-day jail sentence related to a violation of the town's electronic sign ordinance was put on hold Wednesday afternoon.

Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III granted David J. Mongielo a stay Wednesday afternoon, putting off the sentence that the Town of Lockport auto shop owner received Tuesday night. The stay is in effect until Murphy rules on Mongielo's appeal of the sentence.

Frank Housh, Mongielo's attorney, filed the appeal Wednesday in Niagara County Court. Had Murphy not granted the stay, Mongielo would have reported to Niagara County Jail at 4 p.m., Housh said.

"My client is ready to follow the court's orders," he said.

Mongielo was sentenced Tuesday night in Lockport Town Court by Justice Leonard G. Tilney Jr., who also threw out a second ordinance violation. Mongielo was given jail time for breaking a term of 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.

While under the one-year conditional discharge, Mongielo was charged with violating the sign ordinance a second time in August 2011. The electronic sign in front of Mongielo’s business on Robinson Road reportedly was used to show a video advertising a fundraiser.

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. A trial date had not been set for the second violation when Tilney dismissed it Tuesday.

The appeal of the discharge sentence is based on three issues, Housh said. The first is Tilney sentencing Mongielo for the conditional discharge violation and throwing out the second ordinance violation. Throwing out the violation is against Murphy's earlier ruling — and Mongielo's wishes.

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