Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Angle Appeals Franciosa Decision to Court of Final Error

Not wasting any time, Northampton County Council Prez Ron Angle on Monday appealed Senior Judge Franciosa's ruling that the Bulldog is barred from sitting simultaneously on Bangor's School Board and Northampton County Council. Although DA John Morganelli outwardly claims to be interested only in determining the law, watch how fast he tries to claim that the appeal is moot because Angle has already resigned from the school board.

Easton Attorney Brian Monahan represents Angle. He's the very lawyer who, when he ran for District Judge in 2007, was victimized by a series of vicious anonymous mailers. It was later determined they were sent by political consultant Thomas "Scissorhands" Severson, who eventually pleaded guilty to deceptive campaign practices. Those charges were filed by the state AG because Morganelli refused to lift a finger. You see, Severson was also Morganelli's campaign consultant. They are also big pals, and Morganelli always made sure his annual druig forfeiture mailer was printed and mailed by Scissorhands.

Monahan lists the following issues for review by the state supremes:

1) Whether the Trial Court improperly denied Defendant's Motion Seeking Disqualification Recusal of the Judges of the Third Judicial District [Northampton County]?

2) Whether the Elected Office of Northampton County Council Member and School Director of the Bangor Area School District are compatible?

3) Whether the Trial Court improperly granted [DA Morganelli's] Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings and finding that Defendant is prohibited from simultaneously holding the elected countywide position of Northampton County Council Member and School Director of the Bangor Area School District pursuant to Sections 104 and 107 of the Northampton County Home Rule Charter?

4) Whether the Trial Court's reliance on Northampton County Home Rule Charter at Sections 104 and 107 [348 Pa.Code §1.1-104-107] for the forfeiture and ouster of the Honorable Ronald L. Angle from the Office of County Councilman violates Article IX, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution which allows a Home Rule Charter to exercise any power or perform any function not denied by this Constitution?

5) Whether the Court of Common Pleas of Northampton County's jurisdiction in the within matter is completely abrogated by Article VI, Section 2 of the Pennsylvania Constitution? Fox v. Swing, 409 Pa. 241, 186A.2d 124 (1962); Commonwealth v. Lucas, 632 A.2d 868, 534 Pa. 293 (1993).

6) Whether the District Attorney of Northampton County lacks authority, standing, and capacity to bring the within action pursuant to Article VI, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, which provides the exclusive method for removing elected civil officials from office? See: South Newton Township Electors v. South Newton Township Supervisors, 838 A.2d 643 (2003) and In Re: Petition to Recall Reiss, 665 A.2d 1162 (1995).

7) Whether the Trial Court's Orders of Court of June 4, 2010 and June 10, 2010 requiring your Defendant to forfeit his position as a Member of Northampton County Council, prohibiting your Defendant from simultaneously holding positions as a Member of Northampton County Council and School Director of the Bangor Area School District, and prohibiting your Defendant from participating in official Northampton County Council Proceedings as a representative from District 4 violates Article VI, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution which is the exclusive method for removing elected civil officers from office? See South Newton Township Electors v. South Newton Township Supervisors, 838 A.2d 643 (2003) and In Re: Petition to Recall Reiss. 665 A.2d 1162 (1995).

8) Whether the Trial Court's Orders of June 4, 2010 and June 10, 2010 requiring your Defendant to forfeit his position as a Member of Northampton County Council, prohibiting your Defendant from simultaneously holding positions as a Member of Northampton County Council and School Director of the Bangor Area School District, and prohibiting your Defendant from participating in official Northampton County Council Proceedings as a representative from District 4 violates Article I, Section 5 of the Pennsylvania Constitution by disenfranchising the votes of those that duly elected your Defendant, the Honorable Ronald L. Angle, to the position of County Council Member and School Director in violation of Article I, Section 5 of the Pennsylvania Constitution?

9) Whether the Trial Court's Orders of June 4, 2010 and June 10, 2010 disenfranchise the votes of electors who cast ballots for the Honorable Ronald L. Angle for Northampton County Council Member and School Director of the Bangor Area School District without due process of law?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Who sits on the court?

Bernie O'Hare said...

There are seven justices.

Anonymous said...

Who serves on the supreme court. Isn't Jane Orie one of the justices? who are the others?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jane Orie is a state senator. It's Joan Orie Melvin. Here's a link:

http://www.courts.state.pa.us/T/SupremeCourt/SupremeCourtJustices/default.htm

Anonymous said...

Will Franciosa's apparent senility be discussed? How about his political money-hauling duties?

Anonymous said...

How are they skipping the intermediate appellate court (the "Commonwealth Court")? Although you are inferring that it is a technicality, the case is legally moot. Its arguably appellable on the gounds that its an issue that is likely to escape appellate review, but that, in and of itself, shows that there is no timing issue that warrants skipping the intermediate court. Am I missing something?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Yes, in an obvious recognition of the importance of the right to hold public office, the law provides that appeal in qu warranto actions go straight to the supreme court, and they are appeals as of right.

By your own argument, the case is not legally moot. You yourself point out that it would otherwise likely escape appellate review and that's a legal basis for avoiding a determination of mootness.

Whether these are or are not incompatible offices is also a question of public importance, thus avoiding a determination of mootness.

But watch how fast Morganelli, who claims to be only interested in resolving the law, raises it. With him, it has been personal and political.

Anonymous said...

I wrote the post on intermediate appellate review. While I was previosuly unaware of it, a direct appeal of right makes a lot of sense.

As for mootness. I think we agree that the case is moot but that there is an EXCEPTION to the mootness doctrine that allows appellate review on the grounds each of us described. If I were the DA I would argue mootness (its an obvious issue), but I wouldn't expect to win. The case should he heard on its merits so (at a minimum) Angle can run for the school board seat if he wins.