Pennsylvania – A man from the Mount Pleasant Township of Pennsylvania who was arrested on domestic violence charges made bail over the weekend. According to police, the man then allegedly attempted to kill his accuser the day he was released.
30-year-old John Michael Pisula Jr. is currently back in police custody after authorities stated that he held a rifle to a woman’s head on Saturday, while allegedly pulling the trigger. The gun did not go off, however. Pisula is currently being held at the Westmoreland County Prison on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, strangulation, unlawful possession of a firearm and related offenses. This time around, he’s being held without bail based upon the alleged crimes.
The events leading up to Pisula’s new arrest and charges stemmed from a reported domestic dispute form this past Friday. Troopers were called out to a Joyce Drive home at 7:40 p.m. on Friday, where a woman alleged that Pisula had assaulted her on Wednesday and Thursday. According to court documents, the victim was reported as having bruises to her arms, legs and mouth.
When responding troopers took Pisula into custody that evening, he was in possession of 10 Klonopin tablets, which are often used to treat anxiety, seizures and panic disorders.
That arrest left him charged with simple assault, drug possession, and harassment. Pisula was held overnight and arraigned Saturday at 8:00 a.m., where he was subsequently freed on a $75,000 unsecured bail. Officials stated that Pisula went to the Joyce Drive home to retrieve his car keys at around 10:00 a.m. and left, as there was a court-imposed condition stating that he couldn’t stay or be at the residence.
By 11:00 p.m. that same evening, the accused abuser made his way back to the home he was forbidden from being in. Reports state that Pisula started a fight with the victim over his inability to stay at the residence. He then allegedly choked the woman until she fell unconscious.
When the victim came to after being choked out, Pisula had then allegedly began stomping on her legs while she was on the floor. The victim told troopers that Pisula made a small cut on her back with a knife, before holding a rifle to her head.
Troopers said John Michael Pisula Jr., 30, held a rifle to the woman’s head and apparently pulled the trigger, but the gun did not go off.https://t.co/LK0AsLsIfY
— TribLIVE.com (@TribLIVE) January 27, 2020
With the rifle held to the woman’s head, Pisula had allegedly threatened to kill her, according to court records. The woman claimed to have heard the click noise of a hammer-fall, before the gun was removed from her head.
Pisula had then begun to inspect the weapon after the misfire, according to court documents. The victim had rushed over to a neighbor’s house by 7:00 a.m. on Sunday morning so as to call 911, while Pisula subsequently fled the home. The circumstances of Pisula’s capture are undetailed at this time.
The accused man was arraigned earlier Monday under the new charges levied. Court records don’t indicate that Pisula has an attorney assigned as of yet. He’s scheduled for preliminary hearings on January 30 for the initial assault and possession charges and has another hearing scheduled on February 6 regarding the attempted homicide allegations.
Just south, New York City is experiencing an explosion of violence following their new “bail reform” policies.
The new police commissioner of the New York City Police Department is not a fan of the Cuomo “get out of jail free” criminal justice “reform” policy.
Dermot Shea said on Friday that the new bail reform law that was implemented on Jan. 1, has contributed to an increase in crime in the city, and he is calling for state legislators to fix it.
The reform law, which did away with the need for cash bail for a number of crimes, came about just when serious crime had hit an all-time low in the city, police were making fewer arrests, and the jail population had gone down substantially.
“…now as you see this in the first three weeks of the year, we are seeing significant spikes in crime. Either we have forgotten how to police New York city or there is a correlation.”
Well commish, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.
“If you let out individuals that commit a lot of crime, that’s precision policing in reverse and we’re seeing the effects in a very quick time, and that is why we’re concerned,” Shea said.
Through Jan. 19 of this year compared with the same period last year, statistics show that robberies are up 31.5%, burglaries are up 15%, grand larceny is up 5.6%, and auto thefts, which had been in a sharp decline recently have spiked up 67%. The total for all serious felonies was up 11% year over year compared to 2019.
Nice job there, Cuomo and state legislature.
Put another way, since percentages do not tell the whole story, a total of 233 more robberies have occurred this year compared to last, 159 more car thefts and 125 more burglaries, in only three weeks.
The new law made a majority of so-called “non-violent” offenses no longer bail eligible, meaning criminals have been allowed to walk free without having to post bond after committing robberies, burglaries and other offenses.
Some people have defended the new law, saying it “just took effect.” To that, we say bull crap, and so does Shea.
“People say it just took effect; you can’t have consequences already. Take a look at CompStat (crime statistics).”
“We’re seeing it immediately at the same time you have [state and local jail] populations dropping significantly,” Shea continued.
“Now don’t tell me there not a correlation to that.”
Shea is fed up and rightfully so. He only became the commissioner in New York last month. This week he went to Albany to speak with legislators about his concerns.
The first issue is the one of repeat offenders being repeatedly released, but the second and just as important issue are the new discovery laws, which changed how and when prosecutors must turn over evidence to defense attorneys, as well as contact information for victims and witnesses, which must occur within 15 days.
“The second piece is going to take longer and then it’s going to be a one-two punch as discovery takes hold,” Shea said. “Discovery is going to change how crimes are prosecuted in New York.”
Shea was generally supportive of both parts of the reform law, but feels that it went too far, too fast, and needs to be adjusted.
“Judges need discretion to keep New Yorkers safe, judges need discretion to step in and say, ‘this is the fifth time you have been in front of me in two weeks,’” he said.
He wants judges to be able to use discretion and take into account factors such as the danger posed by the defendant as criteria in setting bail.
“You have to have a situation where dangerous individuals, or individuals that repeatedly commit crimes and victimize people are kept in. And if judges don’t have that ability, I think we’re all in trouble and I don’t think any New Yorker wants that to happen.”
The new discovery law is something that Shea says overcompensated for what was perceived to be an unfairness in the old discovery procedures.
The new law was created to make sure that people accused of crimes had earlier access to information that would be used against them in trial, however “swinging it back 180 degrees the other way and giving everything over immediately is equally wrong,” Shea said.
“When you have instances where witnesses and victims will be afraid to call the police, that is a real problem and needs to be fixed…this is something that affects all New Yorkers.”
As of Jan 1, prosecutors must request criminal history reports from anyone who may act as a witness in a criminal case. This includes firefighters, emergency medical technicians, nurses, or anyone else who had contact with a victim or defendant in a criminal case.
Some fire departments in New York are objecting to that new requirement, saying it is an invasion of privacy.
The law will require that any criminal history information be turned over to defense counsel within 15 days of an arrest.
Of course, first responders and medical personnel are among the first people who have contact with crime victims and defendants, so naturally they will be adversely affected.
In order to request a criminal history report, police will need to obtain personal information such as dates of birth, home addresses and phone numbers from potential witnesses. This has raised concern among first responders and other potential witnesses, fearing that the information will fall into the wrong hands.
In Warren County, one fire department has made the decision not to release personal addresses and phone numbers of its members. Other fire departments are weighing their options. In addition, Glens Falls Hospital will only provide the hospital’s address and telephone number, according to officials with Warren County.
The coordinator for emergency services in Warren County, Brian LaFlure has said that first responders there are angry about what they deem to be an invasion of privacy.
Since many fire departments across New York are volunteer departments, it will create more work for them, and will require dedicating resources to track down information for any personnel who may have been at an emergency scene.
“They’re very upset about it,” LaFlure said. “Some fire departments have taken the stance that they will give out names and that’s it.”
The new requirements, passed by state legislators who are more interested in “feel good reform” than practical solutions have been widely panned by emergency services personnel, town and city leaders, and district attorneys who believe that they will place a substantial burden on resources.
As typically happens, this is yet another unfunded mandate passed on without additional funding from the state.
In one case, leaders of the Chester Fire Department were contacted by the Warren Cunty District Attorney’s Office to provide information for firefighters who responded to the scene of a police pursuit that ended up in a crash in their community where someone died.
The suspect in the case was arrested, and now the prosecution is seeking to obtain background on all the firefighters who responded, numbering more than a dozen. They were unaware of the new procedures and were caught off guard when the information was requested.
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Chester Fire Capt. Ralph Bartlett, a retired Warren County sheriff’s sergeant, said he was both surprised and concerned when he learned about the change in state law when New York State Police contacted the department looking for personal information for the firefighters at the Sept 26 accident scene.
Department members discussed the issue, and decided that only names, ranks and the fire station’s address will be released. With that said, the department was researching its legal obligations and will cooperate as needed to make sure the criminal cases are not damaged based on opposition to the policy.
“This is going to create a lot of work,” Bartlett said. “We’re going to have to track who goes on every call and create a document for it.”
The most ridiculous thing about the new law is that most of those subjected to the background check will never be called to testify, yet their information will still be released.
Chester is not the only fire department trying to decide on how to comply with the new law. Both the Bolton and Queensbury Central fire departments’ firefighters are also weighing their options regarding turning over personal information.
At a county fire commissioners meeting, other departments in Warren County asked for copies of the Chester Fire Department’s policy.
Bartlett also said that he had contacted the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, which was attempting to research options for fire departments under the new law.
For his part, Warren County District Attorney Jason Carusone understands the objections being raised by the fire departments.
He said that while his office is legally obligated to turn over what information it can compile about potential witnesses, those witnesses are not required to cooperate with his agency in providing the information.
“There is nothing in the law that says a witness has to give their address or date of birth,” he said.
Right, until some liberal judge decides that not providing the information is contempt of court and ends up locking up a volunteer firefighter. One can easily see where this can go off the rails.
The big change with this new incarnation of the law is before, only witnesses who were definitely going to be called to testify at a trial or hearing required a background check. Now, it addresses potential witnesses.
So even a tow truck driver who responds to an accident scene could be identified as a “witness” and have their personal information exposed to a criminal defendant.
“The consequence of it was never felt because they generally wouldn’t have to testify, and we wouldn’t have had to turn it over unless they were being called to testify,” said Tony Jordan, Washington County District Attorney. “There is some anxiety about it. Understandably, people are concerned.”