Carbon County Court - Twelve enter guilty pleas
Twelve persons in pending criminal cases entered guilty pleas Tuesday before Carbon County Judge Steven R. Serfass. Many of the cases involved driving under the influence (DUI) charges.
Serfass accepted the pleas from the following:
Thomas Charles Witter, 35, of Weatherly, pleaded to one count each of DUI and driving while under suspension-DUI related.
Witter was arrested on Jan. 28, 2010, along Ridge St., in Lansford. Given a test, the result was .21BAC.
On the DUI charge Serfass sentenced Witter to serve six to 12 months in prison, pay a fine of $500, get a drug and alcohol (D&A) evaluation and follow any recommendation for treatment, and his license was suspended for a year.
On the suspension count Serfass sentenced him to serve 90 days in jail, a fine of $1,000 and another year suspension. The prison terms run concurrently. Witter was given credit for 127 days spent in jail to date on the charges.
Julio Angel Quintana, 18, of Hazleton, pleaded to one count of criminal conspiracy-receiving stolen property, as a felony three.
He was arrested by state police at Hazleton on Sept. 7, 2010, in Tresckow. Troopers responded to the area to a report of two suspicious persons in the area entering vehicles. While checking the area troopers found an abandoned 1999 Volkswagen Passat that had been reported stolen earlier in Hazleton.
Quintana was later found and admitted his part in the theft of the vehicle.
Serfass sentenced him to serve three to 18 months in prison and ordered he supply a DNA sample and pay the $250 fee and make restitution of $85. He was given credit for 141 days spent in jail on the charges and paroled.
William G. Lower Jr., 23, of Summit Hill, pleaded to two counts of DUI.
Both arrests occurred in Lansford, the first on May 13 and the second June 14, both in 2009. Lower was given a test in both cases, the first resulted in a .35BAC and the second a .38BAC.
Serfass sentenced Lower to serve five days to six months on each count running concurrently and total fines of $600 and two years license suspension. He was also ordered to get a D&A evaluation and zero tolerance imposed on D&A use. He was given credit for 14 days spent in jail on the charges and paroled.
Stewart A. Counterman Jr., 30, of Lansford, pleaded to one count of retail theft, a second offense. He was arrested on Aug. 14, 2010, at Boyer's Market in Lansford for taking items valued at $13.
Counterman was on probation at the time and had it revoked and is currently serving a 90 day jail sentence. Serfass imposed a fine of $300 on the theft count.
Adam Nicholas Kotsko, 28, of Nesquehoning, pleaded to one count of default in required appearance.
Nesquehoning police filed the charge on information received from deputy Warden Timothy Fritz. Kotsko was sentenced by Serfass to serve a three to 24 month person term and was ordered to report to the county jail on Sept. 10, 2010, to begin it. He failed to show and was found in Florida and returned to the county.
Serfass placed him on probation for a year and ordered it run consecutive to the prison term he currently serving on the original sentence.
Tiffany A. Paquette, 24, of Pottstown, pleaded to one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. She was arrested on May 8, 2010, in the 100 block of W. Ludlow St., Summit Hill, following a traffic stop.
Serfass placed her on probation for a year and ordered she get a D&A evaluation and perform three hours of community service per month while on probation.
Benjamin Tatum, 29, of Lake Harmony, pleaded to two counts of possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested on Jan. 20, 2010, in the Snow Ridge Village development at Jack Frost resort in Kidder Township.
Township police found equipment and material used in the growing of marijuana plants and also found two marijuana plants in the residence.
Serfass placed Tatum on probation on each count, running consecutively, and ordered he get a D&A evaluation and render three hours of community service per month while on probation. He was given credit of two days spent in jail on the charges.
Darnell Spencer Dixon, 26, of Wilkes-Barre, pleaded to one count of possession of a small amount of marijuana. He was arrested on Oct. 18, 2010, following a vehicle stop along Broad St., in Beaver Meadows. He was a passenger in the vehicle.
Dixon was fined $300.
Karen A. Stefanick, 45, of Coaldale, pleaded to one count each of endangering the welfare of a child and DUI. She was arrested on May 2, 2009, at Parkway and Patterson sts., Lansford. Given a test, the result was .25BAC. Police said she had her two children in the car, ages four and 15, at the time which led to the endangering count.
Serfass placed her on probation for two years on the endangering charge and six months on the DUI count, with the terms running consecutively.
He was fined $300 on the DUI charge and ordered to get a D&A evaluation, zero tolerance on D&A use and to render three hours of community service per month while on probation.
Frank W. Dandrea, 22, of Scranton, pleaded to one count of DUI. He was arrested on Jan. 8, 2010, along Broad St., in Beaver Meadows. Given a test, the result showed the presence of controlled substances - cocaine and heroin - in his system.
Serfass deferred sentencing to a later date.
John D. Seelman, 53, of Albrightsville, pleaded to one count of DUI. He was arrested on July 30, 2010, along SR534 in Kidder Township. Given a test, the result was .18BAC.
Serfass placed him on probation for six months and ordered he pay a fine of $300, and get a D&A evaluation.
Raymond L. Parker, 35, of Nesquehoning, pleaded to one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. He was arrested on Oct. 12, 2010, at 204 W. High St., Nesquehoning. Police responded to the residence to a reported domestic incident. During the investigation the drug paraphernalia was found.
He was placed on probation for six months and ordered to pay a fine of $100.
Each defendant sentenced must also pay court costs and a $50 per month supervision fee.