By way of background, Mezzacappa was convicted of false reports to the Pennsylvania State Police after a jury trial in march. She attempting to frame a black neighbor with accosting her at gunpoint. She told troopers she had fired her own gun at him as he ran off. A jury determined beyond a reasonable doubt that she was lying. The case was prosecuted by Assistant DA Abigail Bellafatto, assisted by unpaid summer intern Richard Huntington Pepper. The trial judge was Stephen Baratta. Mezzacappa represented herself, although Judge Baratta appointed a standby counsel to assist her.
Mezzacappa had no prior record of significance. Judge Stephen Baratta sentenced her in April to 12 months probation with conditions that included no contact with the victims, a psychiatric evaluation, a drug and alcohol evaluation and the temporary surrender of all offensive weapons and firearms.
On the very day she was sentenced, she violated the terms of her probation. She left a note for the victim and told both the ADA and her probation officer that she had no intention of complying with Judge Baratta's sentence.
Mezzacappa was as a result picked up on yet another bench warrant and has been housed at Monroe County's correctional facility since that time. Judge Baratta directed that she be given a psychiatric evaluation and drug and alcohol evaluation before being released.
The psychiatric evaluation was apparently conducted, but my understanding is that she refuses to submit to a drug and alcohol evaluation. Though she refuses to comply with Judge Baratta's own sentence, he agreed to review her case yesterday.
Instead of transporting prisoners from jails to courtrooms, court officials often have defendants participate by video. That's what was supposed to happen with Mezzacappa. But at the appointed hour, all the video feed showed was an empty chair in an empty room.
A corrections officer eventually appeared, and informed the court that Mezzacappa refused to get dressed or leave her cell.
My views concerning Mezzacappa are colored from my numerous negative interactions with her. But it seems clear to me that she has no respect for the court and no intention of complying with any probationary sentence. While her continued incarceration is far from ideal for her own rehabilitation, it will at least keep the rest of us safe for the next few months.