The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

June 25, 2014

DA ordered to explain failure to file appeal brief

PINE TOWNSHIP — One person was conspicuously absent from Tuesday’s resentence of Anthony Machicote – Jeremy Melvin, Machicote’s co-defendant in the 2003 killing of a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township.

His absence was due to the Mercer County District Attorney’s Office failing to file a brief in an appeal in Machicote’s case, while filing its brief on time in Melvin’s.

Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Dobson has ordered the DA’s office to explain at a July 7 hearing why it did not file a brief in the Machicote case, or ask for reconsideration when the state Superior Court dismissed the appeal.

The Machicote case is not the only one in which the DA’s office has failed to file a brief. Another significant case was the appeal of Aaron M. Bradley, who was convicted of robbing a Sharon pharmacy. Superior Court earlier this month ordered a new trial after determining Judge Robert G. Yeatts should not have allowed the victims of the robbery to identify Bradley, whose face was partly covered.

In the Machicote case, District Attorney Robert G. Kochems said he was not aware a brief had not been filed until after the assistant district attorney who had been handling appeals, Cynthia A. Gilkey, had resigned.

A motion for reconsideration can be filed up to 10 days after an appellate court makes a decision.

“We weren’t prepared to deal with it until it was too late,” he said, speaking outside of court Tuesday, following Machicote’s resentence.

The brief in the Melvin appeal was filed on time because it was due two days later, Kochems said, acknowledging that it likely would have been identical to one his office would have filed in the Machicote case.

Dobson had complained earlier of the delay in resentencing Machicote and Melvin, and went through the procedural histories of the cases to explain to audience members “why we’re here.”

Melvin and Machicote each pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and were sentenced to life in prison with no chance for parole.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to mandate a sentence of life without parole for juvenile offenders.

Dobson said he held off on resentencing Machicote and Melvin to allow the state Supreme Court to issue guidelines on how to handle this case.

“After 18 months, this court realized the delay was unconscionable,” Dobson said.

He declared the sentences for Urey’s killers unconstitutional based on the U.S. Supreme Court Case, known as Miller vs. Alabama.

The Mercer County District Attorney’s Office appealed. While that appeal was pending, the state Supreme Court said the Miller case was not retroactive, meaning juvenile defendants who previously were sentenced to life without parole were not entitled to new sentences.

The DA’s office discontinued the appeals, then reinstated them.

Because the Machicote appeal was dismissed, Dobson’s previous order that his sentence was unconstitutional stands. Dobson said he “has no out” but to resentence Machicote with guidance by the Miller case.

Text Only
Local News
  • Audit calls for better record-keeping policies

    The annual auditor’s report for the City of Farrell was presented by City Manager Michael Ceci to council members Monday.

    August 1, 2014

  • trout island trail paving Hot on the trail

    Work began last week to pave a section of the Trout Island Trail, replacing a crushed limestone surface.

    August 1, 2014 3 Photos

  • CIRT team in Jackson Center Man arrested after shooting standoff

    One Jackson Center man is recovering from a bullet wound, and the borough resident accused of shooting him sits in jail after a long night of drinking that state police say turned into a case of attempted homicide.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sharon Speedway location City on track for new Speedway store

    Speedway is lining up its administrative and bureaucratic cones on plans for the gas station and convenience store chain to zoom into downtown Sharon.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Guards, county OK deal

    County officials and guards at the Mercer County Jail have reached a tentative contract agreement that, if approved, halts the idea of privatizing operations at the facility.

    July 31, 2014

  • Doss: Public has right to know

    A major part of Farrell council’s work session Monday was spent deciding whether or not to inform the audience about an unofficial police proposal from the City of Sharon.

    July 30, 2014

  • Budget falling short despite tax hike

    Farrell residents may have seen an income tax increase this year, but the city isn’t seeing the extra dollars City Manager Michael Ceci budgeted for.

    July 30, 2014

  • oakwood graves 1 Resting together

    Visitors to Oakwood Cemetery would see many  familiar local names if they looked down the hillside to the left just inside the gate on Sharon’s North Oakland Avenue.

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • Police: Kids in car were OK

    The mother of two young children was drunk and passed out when police found them all in a car parked along a city street, Sharon police said.

    July 29, 2014

  • To talk – or not – about police

    The mysterious agenda item, “No. 10,” at Farrell’s council meeting Monday became the center of a heated workshop and business session.

    July 29, 2014

  • Community thanks its first-responders

    Sharpsville honored its emergency responders Sunday at an event that included Mertz Towers residents as special guests.

    July 28, 2014

  • Drilling boom challenges state inspectors

    The state’s 83 well inspectors face a daunting enough challenge keeping tabs on 120,000 active oil and gas wells that have been drilled over the last century.

    July 28, 2014

  • Kidds Mill Covered Bridge A span of time

    Four generations of the Cadman family have enjoyed the Kidds Mill Covered Bridge, which is in Pymatuning Township near where the family’s ancestral farm is located.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos

  • Intruder hurts woman, takes $5

    A home invasion in Hermitage Friday night sent an elderly woman to the hospital and netted the robber $5.

    July 27, 2014

  • national night out March against crime set for Aug. 5

    At the last Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission meeting, Chief Riley Smoot Jr. presented the number of incidents for each of the four communities in May.

    Farrell topped out at 819.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo