SUNBURY — A senior judge on Wednesday refused to throw out all charges related to a Shamokin man accused of recording a trooper's testimony in Northumberland County Court last year.
However, Senior Judge Harold F. Woelfel Jr. gave Joseph Lechinskie Jr., 35, and defense attorney Jim Best 10 days to file briefs in support of a suppression motion. Best claims that Leschinskie was denied his constitutional rights when authorities brought him into the courtroom and questioned him about the alleged recording.
Leschinskie, an unsuccessful candidate for mayor and council member in Shamokin, is facing three misdemeanor charges: one count of obstructing the administration of law or governmental function, one count of unlawful use of an audio or video device in court and one count of disorderly conduct.
Trooper Tyler Watson, Sheriff Deputies John Robbins and Curtis Cooke, Northumberland Patrolwoman Rachel Shearer and county Detective Degg Stark provided testimony to the events on Jan. 4, 2019.
On Jan. 4, 2019, Judge Paige Rosini found Leschinskie guilty of the traffic violation, which was filed by state police at Stonington relating to a June 2018 incident. Following the hearing, witnesses said Leschinskie bragged to a state trooper and two other law enforcement officials that the “Superior Court will like this” and then played the recording of Trooper Tyler Watson’s testimony from his phone.
According to testimony, Leschinskie refused to turn over the phone and resisted until several officers intervened, at which time they gained control of Leschinskie and his phone. Rosini ordered the deputies to bring Leschinskie back into the courtroom where he ultimately admitted to recording the proceeding, according to testimony.
They also testified that they only recognized Watson's voice, and did not know whether the recording was made that day or another day.
Best argued that Leschinskie's statements to the judge should be suppressed because he was not provided with an attorney and not advised of his rights. Assistant District Attorney Robyn Zenzinger argued that Leschinskie was not under arrest, but rather being questioned in an "investigative detention" for a brief time.