The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

January 19, 2013

Toth wants county judge to review DA’s decision

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

SOUTH PYMATUNING TOWNSHP — Kurt D. Toth has asked a Mercer County Common Pleas Court judge to review the county’s head prosecutor’s decision not to pursue criminal charges against a South Pymatuning Township policeman.

Toth, who lives in the township, said prosecuting the case would be “in the public interest.”

Toth filed the private complaint against Sgt. Richard Christoff Aug. 17 alleging Christoff had told Thomas Lyons he could file charges against Lyons for recording public meetings and an encounter between Toth and patrolman Andreu Foriska.

Toth was thrown out of a township supervisors’ meeting June 12 by Foriska, and protested his removal to Foriska in the parking lot of the township building. Foriska charged Toth criminally with failing to disperse, disrupting a lawful meeting and disorderly conduct, while Toth has filed a federal civil suit against Foriska alleging the policeman violated Toth’s free-speech rights, retaliated against him for exercising those rights and assaulted him.

In his private complaint, Toth alleged Christoff wanted to intimidate Lyons into not testifying on Toth’s behalf by threatening to charge Lyons with illegal wiretapping.

In a Dec. 24 letter to Toth, District Attorney Robert G. Kochems said there was insufficient evidence to file charges based on Toth’s complaint, and that prosecuting the complaint is “not in the interest of justice to use limited Commonwealth resources.”

Toth claimed the decision was “patently arbitrary” and made in “bad faith.”

Lyons filed a federal civil suit against Christoff and it has been settled but details have not been released.