Former Lackawanna County Chief Of Staff Andrew Wallace Waives Preliminary Hearing
SCRANTON — Former Lackawanna County Chief of Staff Andrew Wallace was in Central Court twice Tuesday morning to waive his preliminary hearing, first without a judge there, and then with one.
The move Tuesday means that he waived his right to challenge evidence and cross-examine witnesses for the first time in a courtroom since authorities charged him in July with indecent assault and harassment.
However, waivers have to be done in front of a judge so they can confirm the defendant is giving up this right knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently. Magisterial District Judge Alyce Hailstone Farrell was not in the courtroom a little after 9 a.m. when Wallace and his attorney, Amil Minora, appeared to enter waiver paperwork with First Assistant District Attorney Judith Price. Wallace’s hearing had been scheduled for 10 a.m.
Minutes after they left, Farrell arrived. Wallace, Minora and Price returned to the courtroom roughly 20 minutes after they left and appeared to waive the hearing all over again.
After Wallace waived the hearing before Farrell, Price said that the defense and prosecution agreed to meet at the courthouse Tuesday morning to waive the hearing and saw that Farrell wasn’t there.
Price asked one of her assistant district attorneys in the courtroom to call her when the magistrate arrived because she had an appointment scheduled at that time at the district attorney’s office, she said. When Farrell arrived, everyone came back and the magistrate finalized it.
The waiver can not go through until the magistrate approves it. Price said she had numerous things to attend to Tuesday and wanted to have the paperwork done to move things along.
Detectives with the district attorney’s office charged Wallace, 66, 126 Burcher Ave., South Abington Twp., on allegations he solicited an 18-year-old male clerk for oral sex than moved to grab the man’s genitals outside P&R Discount Grocery in Archbald in June.
Price declined to comment on whether her office is negotiating a plea deal with Minora. A pre-trial conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. Nov. 21 in Lackawanna County Court.
Wallace, the late U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter’s northeast regional executive director for 27 years and administrative director for former Republican commissioners Charles Luger and Robert Pettinato from 1980-83, started as county chief of staff in January 2016. He resigned as chief of staff in June for “family and ongoing medical reasons,” two days after the district attorney’s office confirmed their criminal investigation.
He earned a salary of $77,131, according to a February 2018 county employee list.
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