Self Defense

Trial is slated to begin on August 12, 2019.  It still shocks the community that Brandon Richardson was arrested and charged.  Clearly Mr. Richardson acted in self-defense after being attacked by 5 people.  On the second attack one witnesses says he saw  one of the deceased have his hand by his waistband….”if he didn’t have one, he sure acted like he did”  Also witnesses heard the deceased making comments that they were going to “kill him and finish him off.”

 

Watch the video below.

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Woman Allegedly Forced 12-Year-Old Girl To Get Birth Control ‘Against Her Will’

KDKA Story

 

TURTLE CREEK (KDKA) – A woman facing charges for allegedly taking a 12-year-old to get birth control appeared in court Tuesday.

Turtle Creek Police say Valerie Fullum, 29-years-old, brought the young girl to a clinic to get the implant “against her will.”

An attorney representing Fullum told KDKA that the judge pushed back her hearing. Attorney Steven Townsend also said that he believes a cell phone picture snapped inside the clinic is the reason why police decided to investigate longer.

Townsend said he believes it will show that the minor was not alone with Fullum at the clinic.

“I think that the investigation is going to reveal that someone has filed false allegations and may be charged in this case and that’s why again the case was continued for an additional month,” said Townsend.

Judge Scott Schricker decided to give police and prosecutors more time and pushed back Fullum’s hearing until July 9.

Fullum, of New Brighton, is facing two felony counts of allegedly endangering the welfare of children and a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment.

She is accused of taking Misty Evans’ 12-year-old daughter to a Turtle Creek health clinic to get birth control implanted in her arm. KDKA first talked to Evans and broke the story in May.

“If she did it to my daughter, who knows how many other children she has taken up here without parents’ consent?” Evans said during the May 9 interview.

The criminal complaint said Fullum forced it upon the minor, but Townsend said that is not true.

“I can tell you that nothing that my client did was against the will or the consent of anyone involved in this case,” said Townsend.

He said the case is not about whether the minor did or did not want/ask for birth control.

“The case revolves around whether or not my client did something against this child’s will or somehow coerced or placed her under duress to consent to a medical procedure,” said Townsend.

Beaver County DA Ethics Opinion

Beaver Countian article

A county prosecutor sent a letter asking the state bar association for guidance after District Attorney David Lozier would not follow her advice to “conflict himself out” of cases filed against Aliquippa’s assistant police chief.

The bar association’s response to Assistant District Attorney Angela Reed-Strathman’s letter resulted in Lozier recusing his office from prosecuting Joseph Perciavalle’s cases, and turning them over to the state Attorney General’s Office.

BeaverCountian.com has obtained a copy of the March 20 ethics advisory opinion sent to Reed-Strathman by the Pennsylvania Bar Association (PBA) Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee.

At the time she reached out to the PBA, Reed-Strathman was prosecuting the cases against Perciavalle, who has been on paid administrative leave since his arrest by county detectives in June 2018.

Prior to Perciavalle’s charges, the officer had gone to Lozier repeatedly in 2016 with possible evidence of corruption in the police department.

The officer has alleged that Lozier took no action on the information he provided and that his arrests by county detectives, several of whom are former Aliquippa police officers, were acts of retaliation. Lozier denied those claims.

Perciavalle’s attorney made it clear he intended to call Lozier as a witness as part of his defense.

“Given the fact that the District Attorney will be a material witness in the case, you have recommended that he ‘conflict this case out’ but he has not indicated a willingness to do so as of this date,” the PBA wrote to Reed-Strathman in response to her request for guidance.

“Your first concern involves your concern that the District Attorney has expressed some direction that you file a motion to quash any subpoena that may be forthcoming to him. Given what you have described, it is very difficult for me to believe that the District Attorney will not be a critical, material witness for one side, the other, or both. Accordingly, you have indicated that you see no grounds to move to quash the subpoena and I am hard pressed to determine on what grounds for such a motion you might raise that could be proffered consistent with your ethical obligations.”

The PBA warned Reed-Strathman that if she followed Lozier’s direction, she could be placing herself at risk of committing serious ethics violations.

“If you do not have any reasonable, good faith argument to seek to quash that subpoena, you are at serious risk of an ethical violation by filing such a motion simply because a person in authority to you has directed you to do so. The ethical obligations of counsel are personal and cannot be averted because of a direction from a superior. You should thus discuss this matter again with the District Attorney to insure a proper course of action.”

Lozier’s decision to personally meet with Perciavalle about his claims against the Aliquippa Police Department placed the district attorney’s office in a unique position and as a result the PBA recommended it be recused from the case.

“The case is truly an unusual one in which the District Attorney, in the proper exercise of his function, has become a material witness in a matter in which the import of his testimony will most likely be contested and may be the ultimate fact on which the case turns. Referral to the Attorney General would reflect that unique complexity in the case and not imply any reluctance on the part of your office that justice be served here.”

Perciavalle was first arrested by county detectives on June 8, 2018 on charges of felony distribution of sexually explicit material to a minor, felony unlawful contact with a minor, and misdemeanor corruption of a minor.

County detectives alleged that Perciavalle sent then-17-year-old Lauren Watkins a text message containing a short video of a semi-nude woman urinating while on a swing.

Both Perciavalle and Watkins have said the “meme” video was sent to her by mistake as part of a group text message intended for her father, Aliquippa Police Sgt. Kenneth Watkins, who has since been demoted to patrolman.

The video was discovered when detectives were examining Lauren Watkins’ phone as part of their investigation into the 2018 Mother’s Day murder of Rachael DelTondo.

During a preliminary hearing on Dec. 4, Watkins testified that the clip was accidentally sent to her by Perciavalle, and that she had not viewed it until she was shown a copy by county detectives as part of their investigation.

District Judge Edward Howe subsequently dismissed the two felony charges of disseminating sexually explicit materials and unlawful contact with a minor, but held for trial the misdemeanor corruption of minors charge.

Howe also held for court a charge from a second case filed by county detectives alleging a felony wiretap violation for a recording Perciavalle made of Aliquippa Police Chief Donald Couch, who is also currently on administrative suspension. County detectives discovered the recording while searching Perciavalle’s phone which they seized following his first arrest.

Perciavalle argues his recording of Couch was lawful, because he had been acting as an informant against Couch and had reason to fear there may be an attempt to intimidate him.

Following the PBA’s ethics guidance, the Beaver County District Attorney’s Office recused itself from prosecuting Perciavalle. The Attorney General’s Office then took over prosecution of the cases against him and on May 9 refiled the two felony charges against him that were dismissed by Howe last year.

The results were the same, with a second judge dismissing the case.

Defense attorney Steven Townsend strongly criticized the Attorney General’s Office for refiling the charges against Perciavalle, echoing his clients assertions that he believes what the public is witnessing is retaliation against a whistleblower.

In a motion still pending before the court, Townsend is asking a common pleas judge to dispose of the remaining corruption of a minor charge from Dec. 4, saying the case can not stand as a matter of law when the underlying offenses have all been dismissed. Townsend also has a motion pending to suppress the recorded conversation between Perciavalle and Couch, alleging county detectives overstepped the authority of their search warrant when going through Perciavalle’s phone.

The PBA’s Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee concluded its advisory letter by praising Reed-Strathman for reaching out to them for guidance.

“You are to be commended for recognizing the ethical issues present in this situation. It may be that you should ask (District Attorney David Lozier) to similarly seek ethical guidance in how to proceed given that the (ethics rule in question) is most directly applicable to him in this circumstance.”

BeaverCountian.com contributing editor Lori Boone contributed to this report.

Explosive Details Revealed

Channel 11 has uncovered new details about alleged corruption in the Aliquippa Police Department.

Reporter Amy Marcinkiewicz spoke with Steve Townsend, the attorney for Joe Perciavalle, the former police chief who is facing charges for allegedly sending sexually explicit messages to a 17-year-old girl.

Click HERE for the entire story.

Ex-Pittsburgh cop charged with lying to FBI had relationship with bank robbery suspect’s mom

By Shelly Brandbury – sbradbury@post-gazette.com

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Click here for the whole Story.

“It’s over,” attorney Steven Townsend said of the relationship. “It wasn’t very strong to begin with. But certainly after the charges came out it ceased to exist.”

The connection between Mr. Cain, Kane and Richards has not been previously reported. Mr. Townsend said he was not sure when the pair’s relationship began, but posts on Kane’s Facebook page suggest the relationship was going on in 2016, which is when Kane put up a photo of herself in a close embrace with Mr. Cain, along with comments about how Mr. Cain was her boyfriend and “the love of my life.”

Beaver County district judge recuses in cases against suspended Aliquippa assistant police chief

An Aliquippa district judge recused herself Tuesday from two criminal cases against an Aliquippa assistant police chief, delaying the preliminary hearings that were scheduled to begin in the Beaver County Courthouse.

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/crime-courts/2018/10/23/Aliquippa-police-district-judge-recuses-Joseph-perciavalle-rachael-deltondo-homicide-beaver-county/stories/201810230125

 

Immunity Cannot be Unilaterally Revoked by the Attorney General

JUDGE RULES THAT THE IMMUNITY AGREEMENT CANNOT BE REVOKED

Immunity

 

A Beaver County Judge ruled that the Attorney General cannot unilaterally revoke an immunity agreement siding with the defense attorney, Steven Townsend.

Read the Opinion

The immunity agreement reached with the Attorney General’s Office was the point of contention in a motion filed by Mr. Ochs.  Ochs alleges that he never breached the immunity agreement but the AG’s office unilaterally revoked the agreement and did so without reservation.  The Court agreed with Ochs and held that the government can’t do as they wish on a “whim” or without oversight.  The court also denied the AG’s request to have this matter sent back to the presiding grand jury judge.

 

Natural gas royalties lawsuit hinges on transaction date

Audit

A class-action lawsuit over natural gas royalties hinges on the question of when the company sold the gas, an industry expert said Friday.

“The issue of when title passes will likely be the most important aspect of this trial,” said Steven Townsend of ShaleAdvice LLC.

Nine Greene County property owners claim in the lawsuit that Energy Corporation of America improperly charged them for transmission and marketing costs when it sold the gas extracted from their properties to its marketing affiliate, Eastern Marketing Corp.

The company contends it paid royalties without deductions on what Eastern Marketing paid it, which was the price at which Eastern Marketing sold the gas to third parties minus the transport and marketing costs. Consequently, Energy Corp. did not charge the owners any transport or marketing costs.

Robert Sanders, one of the attorneys for the property owners, declined to comment. Lawyers for the company could not be reached.

The amount in dispute is about $354,000 in transport costs and $891,000 in marketing fees on gas sold between 2006 and 2012, according to court documents.

The property owners sued the company in November 2010. Their case goes before a federal jury Monday with U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Mitchell presiding.

“The jury, as it does in most civil cases, needs to follow the money,” Townsend said.

If the company pays the 12.5 percent royalties on one price and then moves and markets the gas at a higher price, the property owners should not be charged, he said.

“The royalty owner should be getting the benefit of the higher sale price of the gas since they are paying for the transportation and marketing fees that raise the price,” Townsend said.

Pennsylvania has a law requiring gas royalties to be at least 12.5 percent, but beyond that, the issue is controlled by the leases both sides signed, said Ross Pifer, a Penn State law professor and director of the Agricultural Law Resource and Reference Center.

“At its core, it is a contract matter,” he said.

The state Supreme Court in 2010 upheld the industry practice of using the “net-back method” of calculating royalties, which pays a royalty based on 12.5 percent of the sale price minus 12.5 percent of the cost of bringing the gas to market.

With the exception of the minimum royalty required by state law, the property owner and the company could agree on any cost-sharing plan by spelling it out in the lease.

Traditionally, the companies pay all the costs of getting the gas out of the ground and the owners pay a share of getting the gas to the buyer.

Other disputes over those costs have included companies trying to deduct management fees and other indirect costs from royalties, he said.

While the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that companies cannot deduct any post-production cost that’s not spelled out in the lease, Pennsylvania does not have a similar ruling, he said.

Most leases in Pennsylvania don’t include those details, he said.

“For the most part, they are very imprecise,” Pifer said.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com.