Sherwood Grigg and Donald Trump have at least one thing in common - scalps on which even the most brutal Comanche would take a raincheck. Their noggins look more like furry steamed lobsters than actual human heads. Trump has spent an entire Presidential race demonstrating there's little inside his. Over the years, Magisterial District Judge Sherwood Grigg has proven that he's a tad odd himself.
Forget those evil Islamic immigrants or dirty Mexicans. Our real menace? Old guys who insist on dying their hair a weird shade of orange.
They both apparently get it at Mark Thatcher's ColorRite plant in Upper Mount Bethel. Yamaha, Sukuki, Trump and Griigg.
Ask for Off-Road Orange.
I'll stop talking about Trump now because I'm hoping he appoints me his Press Secretary. This post is really about Grigg, known to people in the slate belt as Griggy. You might find him at the Mount Bethel Diner, where he speaks out of turn about the cases before him. You might find him at the Bangor Elks.You might even bump into him in Atlantic City. But he tries to stay away from courtrooms. They make his orange head hurt.
District Attorney John Morganelli blasted him on Monday over the way he handled, or more appropriately, failed to handle a sex crimes case brought against New Jersey teacher Joshua Mohlman. This teacher allegedly carried on seven-year long affair with a former student, starting when she was just 14. During the Preliminary Hearing before Grigg, Assistant DA Anthony Casola chose to use hearsay evidence of the victim's statements,just like in the Cosby case. But Grigg refused to listen, continued the matter and told Casola to produce a brief explaining why hearsay is admissible.
Hearsay evidence in preliminary hearings is admissible because the Supreme Court says it is, according to rules adopted in 2013 and a 2015 Superior Court decision. A senior Magisterial District Judge is bound by those courts, whether he likes it or not. Now that there's a new Supreme Court, that rule might very well change to give defense attorneys the right to confront accusers. In fact, let's hope it does. But there's no denying that the rule in place right now.says hearsay (out of court statements offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted) may be used to prove any element of an offense.
"Hearsay evidence is absolutely 100% admissible at preliminary hearings and there can be no dispute that is the law," said Morganelli, who is rightfully concerned about subjecting the victims of sexual offenses to even more humiliation. .
Grigg seemed to have little regard for her. He was more worried about an accused child predator.
Morganelli was also miffed that some local news accounts suggested the matter was continued because his office was unprepared.
"Yesterday's delay ... was completely unnecessary and was the result, not of the Commonwealth not being prepared, but the result of a district judge not knowing the Rules of Procedure or the law.Unfortunately, I am advised there are other district jidges that also refuse to follow the Rules of Evidence and procedure and somehow [are] putting their own judgment in place of the judgment of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Superior Court .... ."Instead of getting a brief from the DA, Grigg will be getting a memo from President Judge Stephen Baratta. According to Morganelli, he consulted with Judge Baratta, who agrees with the Commonwealth's position.
"It is very frustrating to pick up the newspaper and read a story that seems to suggest - no offense to the press - that somehow, the District Attorney's office was not prepared to move the case forward and the judge making statements in the newspaper stating such things as, 'In all my years as a judge, I've never done this.' Well, that may be,but things have changed since 20 or 30 years ago."was first elected in 1969. Prior to that, he was a county assessor. Grigg is the mini-judge who administered a bizarre and rambling oath to Ron Angle when he was sworn in last year as an interim school director.
Before the school board meeting started, he explained to the person seated next to him that he had come to swear in the new appointment, but refused to bring his robe. Then he added, "If a certain person is nominated and elected, I'm out of here because I don't get paid to do this."
He was referring to Angle, and had spent the day lobbying agaonst him, which is completely improper for a member of the judiciary.
Why does Griggy have such a hot not for Angle? Maybe because he lost his home to Angle when the bank foreclosed on him. Instead of blaming Angle for his financial predicament, he would do better to spend a little less time at the Bangor Elks.
People who do business in his slate belt courtroom report his rulings have grown more inexplicable in recent months Last year, he threatened harsh sanctions against Portland's Billie Golden for maintaining a junk yard. He made these threats ex parte from the Mount Bethel Diner, after finding Billie guilty and before imposing sentence.
Now he's instructing DAs to file briefs and is going against rules that have been in place for three years.
It's time for Griggy to step down.