On April 27 Sugar Notch Police Chief Chris Pelchar charged sitting Councilman Mario Fiorucci with two counts of criminal trespass, under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, Title 18, Section 3503(b), defiant trespasser. According to that provision of the Crimes and Offenses code of Pennsylvania, “A person commits an offense if, knowing that he is not licensed or privileged to do so, he enters or remains in any place as to which notice against trespass is given . . .” According to Chief Pelchar such notice was given at the Sugar Notch Borough Council meeting held on April 3, when borough resident “Paul Casey brought up the issue of Mario’s flyers and told him not to leave them on his property and gave him the address, 770 Main Street,” as recorded in the borough council meeting minutes.
Fiorucci made his case in front of Magistrate Paul J Roberts of Kingston, claiming that he inadvertently delivered his newsletter to Casey’s home, and that as soon as he realized the mistake he returned to retrieve it in accordance with Casey’s request. Upon reclaiming the newsletter, Fiorucci was confronted by Casey, who later testified in response to questioning by Chief Pelchar, “I told him he was trespassing, and called you on your cell phone.”
Fiorucci insisted several times that he was never notified not to trespass, and claimed the only warning he ever received from Casey was in regard to his newsletter and the request not to receive it. Casey told the Independent Gazette that although his property is not posted with “No Trespassing” signs, Fiorucci should have realized that the request not to deliver was also an implied directive never to set foot on the property.
Fiorucci testified, “I have a poor memory. As soon as I realized I delivered my newsletter to Mr. Casey, I went back to get it. I complied with his wishes by taking it back. I did not target Mr. Casey—this was just a community newsletter.”
Magistrate Roberts informed Fiorucci that the law is clear regarding trespassing, stating, “The warning can be direct or indirect,” referring to how notice against trespass may be given. However, Section 3503(b) of Title 18, under which Fiorucci was being charged, makes no explicit mention of an “indirect” warning.
The hearing adjourned after Roberts informed Chief Pelchar that on the first count of trespass, time stamped 9:55 am, he, Pelchar, had not adequately established proof that it was Fiorucci who had delivered the newsletter, since the chief was not able to provide a single witness to testify to that effect. In contrast, both Fiorucci and Casey testified to Fiorucci’s retrieval of the newsletter at 11:15 am, pertaining to the second count of trespass. Roberts ultimately ended his comments by informing both parties that he would render his decision and then notify them.
As the Gazette was going to print, all parties were notified that Fiorucci was found not guilty on all counts.