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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Sticker Gang Sues Nazareth

(The Sticker Gang with their legal Dream Team. From L to R: Dan Logothetis, Attorney Gary Asteak, Trevor Gehret, Attorney Phil Lauer, Jeremy Peters and Attorney Mark Minotti)

The infamous Sticker Gang has filed its long awaited civil rights suit against Nazareth. Filed in the United States District Court, the suit was filed Thursday afternoon by Trevor Gehret, Jeremy Peters and Daniel Logothetis. They are represented by prominent civil rights Attorney Joe Welsh, along with Phil Lauer. Named as Defendants are Nazareth, Police Chief Thomas Trachta, Patrolman Dan Troxell and the entire Borough Council. The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees, for civil rights violations, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, assault, battery and the intentional infliction of emotional address.

It also seeks injunctive relief against a Borough that seems to have lost sight of the Constitution.

This lawsuit is the result of tiny "FT (Fire Trachta)" stickers, which were springing up all over Nazareth nearly two years ago, along with the dandelions.

They were small but everywhere. Mailboxes, telephone poles, benches and even crime prevention signs.

The FTs were someone's way of saying FU to Police Chief Thomas Trachta.

Dan Troxell does his own perp walk
After a major investigation conducted by perhaps the dumbest cop on the planet, Chief Trachta served notice that there will be no free speech in Nazareth, a point that Borough Council has tried to make with me on several occasions. 

Not only did Trachta arrest the trio that ultimately became known as The Sticker Gang, but he conducted a staged perp parade in front of a fawning press.

He detained these desperadoes until both papers arrived. Then he paraded them outside, up from the police station to District Judge John Capobianco's courtroom. They were shackled and handcuffed, so the dailies could snap pictures of these evil criminals doing what is called a "perp" walk. The Morning Call video shows Jeremy Peters getting at least one shove by a cop who wants him to move faster.

It was actually more of a parade, along the entire length of the bank building. It was done to publicly humiliate this trio and impress a powerful image of guilt in the mind of the public. People charged with littering were treated as though they had just attempted to assassinate the President.

It was also totally unnecessary. Trachta could have easily escorted them up the stairway from the police station into the courtroom.

Online comments in both newspapers have expressed outrage at this abuse of police power. The Chief has been called a megalomaniac, egotistical maniac, Nazi, moron, transplanted clown, Barney Fife and out-of-control.

Legal Dream Team With Sticker Gang T-Shirt
After a 3 1/2 hour hearing before Magisterial District Judge Jacqueline Taschner in Palmer Township, all charges were ultimately dismissed against Nazareth's infamous Sticker Gang. Instead of doing a perp walk, Defendants Trevor Gehret, Jeremy Peters and Daniel Logothetis could do an Irish jig as Police Chief Thomas Trachta and Officer Dan Troxell exited the crowded courtroom with their tails between their legs. After hearing an incredibly weak case from seven Commonwealth witnesses, including a police officer who actually testified that placing stickers on parking meters creates a hazardous condition, Judge Taschner reached the only conclusion she possibly could - Not Guilty.

The FT stickers were initially spotted by meter officer Lou Skrapits as he made his rounds. That's when Chief Trachta ordered Troxell to begin his investigation.

That led him to Michele Howey, who said that Logothetis and Peters had each placed a sticker on her car late one evening, with her consent, and that she placed a third sticker herself.

"I didn't think it was that big of a deal," she repeated several times.  "It was just a sticker."

The Evil Sticker Gang
Troxell also subpoenaed Logothetis' mother, though she knew nothing about Stickergate, to testify about where she lives. He never explained precisely why that matters. When she took the stand and it quickly became apparent that she is completely deaf in one ear and only has partial hearing in another, Judge Taschner exploded.

"You brought this woman here to testify without notifying us so we could have someone here who understands American Sign Language?" she asked. Troxell, who was the investigator, had no idea that one of his witnesses is deaf.

Judge Taschner excused Logothetis' mother.

During the trial, Troxell attempted repeatedly to introduce numerous pictures of the stickers on meters, benches, trees, a car and telephone poles. But he had no training on how to lay a foundation to get them into evidence, and failed. As a result, about 20 pictures never made it into evidence. He just stopped trying. It hurt his head too much.

Troxell also called Public Works Superintended Robert Reimer, who had an invoice of $970.71 for the sticker clean up. But his invoice was prepared after charges had been filed, and with knowledge that he had to be over $500 for a misdemeanor to stick. He admitted that when the Chief first asked him about the clean up costs, he told him he really had no idea.

Dream Team discusses strategy
The Sticker Gang was represented by a legal Dream Team of three of the area's most prominent criminal defense attorneys - Phil Lauer, Gary Asteak and Mark Minotti. When they arrived at the courthouse, they introduced themselves to Trachta and tried to shake his hand. He refused. "That's the first time that ever happened to me," noted a baffled Lauer, who has devoted a career to major criminal cases on the federal and state level and is well-respected by law enforcement.

As the case developed, there was no real evidence that any of the Sticker Gang members had actually done the dirty deed. But there was evidence that, in addition to manufacturing a victim, Trachta and Troxell tried to get the feds involved. Troxell actually testified that he contacted the United States Attorney's Office for the stickers found on mailboxes, bringing some chuckles from the defense team. Postal Inspectors apparently have better things to do.

The Sticker Gang had been facing misdemeanor criminal mischief charges (eight counts each), as well as disorderly conduct, harassment and eight counts of scattering rubbish.

"Why eight?" asked Attorney Asteak at one point, especially considering the evidence was insufficient for even one count.

"There's nothing here to support the misdemeanor charge," concluded Judge Taschner. "Nothing." She indicated all the evidence from the Commonwealth showed an expression of political belief, not an intent to damage any property.

She then told Chief Trachta that he, like she, is a public figure who has to expect some criticism.

"Suck it up, cupcake!" she advised.

She also tossed the harassment and disorderly conduct charges for much the same reason. That pesky First Amendment kept getting in the way. Mark Minotti, legal scholar for the Dream Team, furnished the judge with another Superior Court decision finding that a person wearing a "Fuck You" T-shirt inside a courtroom is not disorderly, as a matter of law. He noted that disorderly conduct charges cannot be used as a dragnet for all irritations. It is a statute intended to preserve the public peace.

Troxell made a last-ditch effort to get the judge to at least buy a scattering rubbish charge. But he failed there, too. He said he found some stickers in a Valero gas station parking lot, but conceded to Attorney Lauer that he was unable to say how they got there or whether the Sticker Gang was even responsible.

Adopting a clinical approach, Attorney Asteak read the Scattering Rubbish statute, which provides that a person is guilty of an offense if he "causes any waste paper, sweepings, ashes, household waste, glass, metal, refuse or rubbish, or any dangerous or detrimental substance to be deposited into or upon any road, street, highway, alley or railroad right-of-way, or upon the land of another or into the waters of this Commonwealth."

He noted the FT stickers were not waste paper, but pure political speech. He also denied there was any evidence FT stickers were deposited on a road, street, highway, alley or railroad right-of-way, or upon the land of another or into the waters of this Commonwealth.

Quoting from a Thomas Jefferson letter to James Madison, Judge Taschner observed that "a little rebellion now and then is a good thing." Speaking for herself, the night judge added, "We don't grow as a society unless there's disagreement."

In addition to this matter, Nazareth is facing a civil rights lawsuit filed by Officer Stephen Schleig, another suit filed by Officer Adam Shimer and a wrongful death action by the Timothy Nixon estate.

When the complaint becomes available on Pacer, I will post it.


Peter J.Cochran said...

OMG-This is an' OK corral' ..

Doc Rock said...

Bernie - Barney Fife, although sometimes overly exuberant in the conduct of his duties, was never malicious or nasty.

Anonymous said...

Only a fool could have not know this Federal suit was coming

Bernie O'Hare said...

That pretty much fits the description of Nazareth Boro Council.

Anonymous said...

Id like the self admitted thief and the entire Nazareth Borough Council ARRESTED FOR IMPERSONATING PUBLIC SERVANTS.


They should be stickered with a "I have NO Integrity, Morals or Honesty Servant"

Anonymous said...

So the sticker goons are going to stick it to the taxpayers? They found some ACLU lawyers who live off suits, wonderful. Why not promise these goons, with no marketable skills a lifetime supply of weed. Hey can then smoke sitting on the curb outside the 7-11.

Sad when those that are the least productive try and fleece the hard working citizens of the town.

Angry employed homeowner

Bernie O'Hare said...

The above comment is from Mezzacappa. She is angry, but is neither employed nor a homeowner. She posted all kinds of remarks about 7-11 in the past, not knowing that none of these guys visit there with any frequency. That's high school kids. She would know that if she lived here, but does not.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Just deleted three anonymous slurs from Mezzacappa.

Anonymous said...

Why did the sticker gang hair lawyers, they should have called the mayor and dealt with it " in house"

Anonymous said...

Oops, hire lawyers

Anonymous said...

I met the sticker gang with my family. These are just kids. I shook their hands and told them if they needed donations,I would like to give what I could, my son, let's call him,Deputy Dogg Brought them over to the car in cuffs .They had no idea I was Batman. I followed this case, for I'm Troxells daddy . Yes after all, how else would I be able to get that close to the man cave ❗ or know which doggshit was his. It runs in the family. His Mommy and I laughed so hard, we. Pissed on his bed.. Sorry Son. But you are an embarrassment to the family,your friends. Did I say friends just kidding. Even we know no one else likes you. Like the chief Yosemite Sam, mayor Dinkle pussy. Remember how proud you were, when you showed us your second place trophy for giving fellatio. Fuck you Miller. You took first place,right from under my Dogg. That's when I decided to become Batman.Don't fuck with the Dogg asshole. After all I remember,like it was yesterday when his Daddy I would breast feed him up side down. PLEASE don't tell him that wasn't my tittie he was sucking on, and that wasn't milk cumming out of my thing. WINK Wink. DA DA DA DA DA Batman.

Anonymous said...

Hope they lose

Anonymous said...

Now I want a FT Sticker. I read in the Express Times Story that the civil suit alleges that Trachta was forced out of the NYPD for "inflating" overtime. Sounds like theft of time to me.

I hope these guys win their suit.

Anonymous said...

Nazareth- the laughing sock of the Lehigh valley thanks to this current bunch of elected goofs

Deputy Dogg said...

�� ������
Here comes the sticker gang

Anonymous said...

LOL-Nazareth boro elected officials seems to becoming the joke of the Lehigh valley. I do remember a guy warning council to get their ducks in a row or they will have to pay and pay big time. Instead of heading the advice from a local community member as well as many others in the immediate community and surrounding communities, the elected good old boys decided to laugh it off. In fact it was biz as usual and the scams and crimes kept mounting. But it is the bloggers fault for bring this issue and a slew of others like guys directing grants to private clubs and so on. What boro council did is basically green light the LCB in to raiding these clubs , like never before. Keep turning over the stones and we will find out that there could be more than just 8000 large missing . In fact , lets follow the money in all of these clubs. Time to start cooking the books boys and girls , like never before , to avoid being closed. If you don't think the DA and the LCB have these so called social clubs on their hit list , you are a fool.