Judges Denies Key Pilchesky Motions Ahead Of Next Week’s Trial
Key motions filed by a Scranton man awaiting trial next week for charges he practiced law illegally were denied today by the Lackawanna County judge presiding over the case.
The state attorney general’s office did not violate Joseph Pilchesky’s right to a speedy trial because the 69-year-old man “has been the reason for much of the delay” since prosecutors charged him in 2013, according to an order by Judge James Gibbons.
Gibbons also ruled that Pilchesky cannot present a defense at trial, scheduled for Monday, that his actions were a necessary remedy for those who sought him out. Pilchesky had other options and there was no impending harm, Gibbons said.
State agents charged Pilchesky in February 2013 with four counts of unauthorized practice of law. Pilchesky is not an attorney but the charges allege he assisted several people with legal matters and accepted their money.
Pilchesky, known for a controversial website center on local politics, has said he is the victim of selective prosecution.
Gibbons will allow Pilchesky to present limited evidence at his trial of his political activity attempts to uncover corruption, according to his order.
The case against Pilchesky has long stalled because of appeals of pretrial matters, most of which Pilchesky filed, and the decision of two judges to recuse themselves. By law, the commonwealth must bring him to trial within 365 days, but the clock can run against one side or the other for delays.
Because of the delays, only 147 days have elapsed under the speedy trial rule, Gibbons wrote. Gibbons also noted that, while the delay has been long, this is also the first time that Pilchesky has raised the speedy trial issue and has not been prejudiced by the delay.
Pilchesky has said he will act as his own lawyer. Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday.
Contact the writer: email@example.com, 570-348-9144; @jkohutTT on Twitter