The charge against a “scrapper,” cited for illegally collecting material left curbside in the Town of Tonawanda, was dismissed Wednesday night as a bench trial was to begin because of new information in the case.
Even so, Don DalFonso of Buffalo continued to speak out against the town ordinance, under which he had been cited last Oct. 1 for “interference with waste material set out for collection” on McConkey Drive.
“It’s still wrong. It’s still totally wrong,” DalFonso said after leaving the courtroom. “I don’t care what they say.
“They’re still singling me out. That’s the bottom line,” DalFonso continued. He said other scrappers have told him that Town of Tonawanda police drive past them.
An admitted repeat offender, DalFonso was scheduled for a non-jury trial before Town Justice Daniel T. Cavarello. People found guilty of violations first receive written warnings, then fines that increase with subsequent violations.
In December, Cavarello denied a motion to dismiss the case made by defense attorney John C. Nelson, who challenged the legal sufficiency of the charge.
Town prosecutor Mario A. Giacobbe, who said he’d been preparing for the trial since that ruling, made a motion Wednesday night to dismiss the charge. Before doing so, he said there was no doubt that DalFonso took a wheel and tire; DalFonso admitted as much during his first court appearance, the prosecutor said.
Before presenting his motion to dismiss, Giacobbe explained: “During the course of my investigation … new information has come to my attention that creates some doubt as to the location where it occurred … I made my decision after consulting with the police officer in this case.”
He said there is some discrepancy between where the officer may have observed DalFonso and where the violation took place.
The prosecutor added, however, that he wanted to make something clear: “These cases will continue to be aggressively prosecuted here in the town.”
The judge noted there were no Constitutional grounds for dismissal. He asked DalFonso if he understood why the case was being dismissed, then added: “I don’t want you to leave here with any misunderstanding.”
Cavarello said the ordinance still is on the books, before granting the prosecutor’s motion to dismiss.
When asked later to comment about the reason given for the dismissal, DalFonso suggested it had more to do with a warrant-less search he was subjected to by police that night last October.