Students, Repeat Offenders Get Day in Court
By STETSON PROVANCE
Accusations of theft, check fraud, assault, and marijuana possession were just a few of the things Judge Joshua Kanalis and Assistant District Attorney Joseph Carroll dealt with while the Brownsville Magisterial Court was in session Monday morning.
And, in many of these cases, the people awaiting preliminary hearings were repeat offenders.
Enter Patrick Marinelli.
“You’re a one-man crime wave,” Carroll said
as Marinelli was escorted in by two officers from Fayette County Jail.
Marinelli, wearing an orange jumpsuit and in handcuffs, had a rap sheet nine pages long. In fact, he had even served federal time for being, as he calls it, an “A+ counterfeiter.”
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This time, Marinelli was facing a theft charge for stealing a ring from his family. However, Marinelli hoped his parents would come to court and drop the charges.
“I hope they show up today,” Marinelli said. “I got enough problems and I can’t afford to do more time.”
Marinelli got his wish. After 10 minutes had passed, his parents dropped the charges.
And, although Marinelli got out of doing extra time for now, Carroll is convinced Marinelli will be back in court again after his current three-to-six-year sentence is up.
“The guy’s a total sociopath,” Carroll said. “Vacant eyes, slouched down, no empathy. He’ll be a career criminal.”
Also charged with theft was Tara Brown. Brown, who, much like Marinelli, had previously been charged with stealing from her family to the tune of $15,000 worth of jewelry, was wearing her own orange prison suit and pair of handcuffs.
Brown was in court Monday for a count of stealing from a CVS in Centerville.
After consulting with her attorney, Brown decided she would waive her right to a preliminary hearing and instead go to trial in the Washington County Court of Common Pleas.
Another repeat offender charged with theft, Adam Greenleaf, had been in this Brownsville Court before.
“I’ve been dealing with you ever since I was
a policeman,” Judge Kanalis said. “You’re a
troublemaker. It’s disgusting.”
Greenleaf is charged with retail theft from Dollar General for stealing $5 of sleeping pills. To avoid jail time, Greenleaf must pay a $165.50 fine and a $5 restitution charge by Dec. 4.
However, Kanalis said this will be the last time Greenleaf has the chance to leave the courtroom a free man.
“We tried to give you help and you didn’t want it,” Kanalis said. “Your future crimes will result in jail time.”
As Greenleaf left the courtroom, Kanalis remembered one vital piece of information pertaining to the case.
“Adam, you’re never allowed in there [Dollar General] again,” Kanalis said.
The final case of the day was also theft-related. Alicia McGraw, who was arrested for writing checks that weren’t her own, was charged with theft and forgery.
According to a representative from Northwest Savings Bank in Frederickstown, McGraw owes the bank $1,776 for a check she cashed there.
When McGraw asked if she could pay that sum back on installments, Kanalis told her it would cause too many problems.
“The bank wouldn’t like it. They might think you’d pay $20 here and $20 there and then stop,” Kanalis said. “Save the money and pay all at once.”
Also at court:
• Five Cal U students were arrested after a fight. Andrew Panzera was charged with possession of marijuana and plea bargained for a house disorderly, while Jonathan Pierce, Zachary Morris, and Jett and Gunnar Smith were charged with simple assault. The charges were dropped after the defendants decided not to testify against each other.
• Monica Fullem of Fredericktown was charged with manufacturing of marijuana. According to Fullem, she started growing the marijuana after her doctor suggested it would relieve her arthritis pain. She decided to waive her case to court.
• Parish Middlebrook, of Clairton, was charged with possession of marijuana. Middlebrook couldn’t come up with the $449.50 required to have the case settled, so it will be sent to the Washington County Court of Common Pleas.
• Bronson Waite of Erie was charged with manufacturing and the intent to deliver a Schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 drugs may include marijuana or cocaine. His case was waived to court.
• Cal U students Cory Humphries and Cody Sowers had the marijuana charges against them dropped after their arresting officer, Jeffery Smaracheck of the Cal U police department, failed to show up in court.
Stetson Provance is a junior at California University of Pennsylvania, majoring in communication studies with a concentration in radio and television. He is a journalism minor. See his website at www.stetsonsblog.weebly.com.