LOCKPORT – David J. Mongielo, the auto repair shop owner charged with violating the Town of Lockport sign ordinance, did not appear for a hearing Wednesday in Town Court .
Justice Raymond E. Schilling said he will have a criminal summons mailed to Mongielo, ordering him to appear at 5 p.m. May 7. “If he does not appear at that date, a bench warrant will be issued,” Schilling said.
That’s an arrest warrant for failure to appear in court, and it could result in Mongielo being arrested and jailed in lieu of whatever bail Schilling chooses to attach to the warrant.
Town Prosecutor Bradley D. Marble asked for an immediate bench warrant, but Schilling refused.
Mongielo, who does not have an attorney, insists the Town Court has no jurisdiction over him. Schilling, in a written decision last month, rejected that argument.
Reached by telephone Wednesday afternoon, Mongielo said he doesn’t intend to show up May 7 either. He said he filed a kidnapping complaint against Schilling.
Marble said Mongielo had told the court staff and a state trooper investigating the “kidnapping” that he wasn’t coming to court. “I believe that disregard for this court deserves a bench warrant,” Marble said.
Wednesday’s hearings were supposed to be on the topics of whether Marble would be allowed Mongielo’s previous convictions for violating the sign law against him in a new trial, and whether Mongielo’s second offense constituted a violation of his conditional discharge on his first conviction.
Mongielo, who has an LED video sign board in front of his Robinson Road business, has been charged twice, in 2010 and 2011, with violating the town law barring signs that change “format” more than once every 10 seconds.
Schilling convicted him in two nonjury trials, but on appeal last fall, County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III ruled that Mongielo should have had a jury trial and overturned the second conviction. Since then, Mongielo’s attorney has left the case and proceedings have been stalled by Mongielo’s refusal to accept the court’s jurisdiction. When he came to court, Mongielo said it was a “special appearance” that didn’t concede the court’s authority.