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Luzerne woman found guilty of two of three criminal counts

Published September 14. 2011 05:01PM

A Carbon County jury panel of 11 men and one woman found a Luzerne County woman guilty on Tuesday of two of three criminal counts following a one day trial.

Christine M. Sosnak, 42, of Dupont, was found guilty of persistent disorderly conduct and resisting arrest but not guilty of simple assault. A second simple assault count was withdrawn by the Commonwealth at the conclusion of its part of the case.

Sosnak represented herself at the trial with Atty. Stephen Vlossask of Palmerton, court-appointed as her standby, to assist her at counsel table and advise her when asked by the defendant.

Sosnak was arrested by Jim Thorpe police following an incident on June 22, 2010, at the home of Charlene Calhoun, at 20 E. Thrid St.

Calhoun related that she and the defendant had a relationship that ended in May of 2010. The two lived together at the Third Street address until Sosnak moved out.

Calhoun said she contacted Sosnak to come to her home and get the rest of her belongings and arranged that she get them around noon on June 22.

She said when Sosnak arrived at the home she became agitated because there was a padlock on the gate leading into the home. She also said Sosnak became more angry when she entered the home to get her belongings, which she had placed in boxes in the living room, kitchen and on the porch of the home.

She said Sosnak was yelling and screaming at her and ranting and raving throughout the home. At one point she said Sosnak grabbed her by the arm and pushed her into a wall.

Calhoun said Sosnak said to her, "You're going to talk to me."

Calhoun said her daughter, Rebecca Calhoun, was in the home and she told her to go and get the police. She said borough Police Chief Joseph Schatz lived across the street and she had seen a police cruiser in front of Schatz's home earlier.

The daughter left the home and got Schatz to come to the residence.

Calhoun said Sosnak was "acting crazy" and was completely out-of-control.

Schatz testified when he entered the home Sosnak said to him, "Get the hell out of here, you're not needed." He said Sosnak was yelling profanities.

He said he tried to get her to calm down. He said while in the home and trying to tell the defendant to calm down and to just take her things and leave, he saw her go towards a television. He said Calhoun stepped in front of her and said the TV was not hers. At this point, Schatz said, Sosnak pushed Calhoun into a wall.

Schatz said at this point he realized the situation was getting worse and he ordered Sosnak to leave or he would arrest her. He said she refused and he then attempted to place her under arrest.

He said Sosnak refused to be handcuffed and struggled with him. He said he had to physically remove her from the home and struggled with her until he managed to get her out in the street and into his police cruiser.

He said he radioed for backup because of the way Sosnak was resisting him.

Schatz said under questioning from Sosnak, that he did call an ambulance because she complained of being out of breath. He said ambulance personnel arrived, checked her out, and then left.

Det. Lee Marzen, of the borough police, said he was off-duty and riding by the area when he saw Schatz engaged in a struggle with a female. He said he stopped to assist.

He said Sosnak was waving her arms and yelling while resisting attempts to handcuff her. He said he and Schatz eventally got her to the ground and handcuffed her.

Rebecca Calhoun testified briefly concerning the incident and said she saw Sosnak push her mother into a wall. She said that was when her mother told her to go get Schatz.

Sosnak testified in her own behalf.

Sosnak said she and Calhoun had an "intimate" relationship and lived as partners. She said on May 26, 2010, she left the residence.

She admitted that she became upset on June 22 when she went to retrieve her belongings, but denied she ever pushed Calhoun or touched her at all. She said, "I did nothing more than argue with her."

She also said she did get upset when Schatz told her he was placing her under arrest, saying she did nothing wrong. She said she left the home on her own and not the way Schatz said he had to remove her.

She also said she didn't remember everything that happened outside and said she had an asthma problem and was having a hard time breathing.

When asked by Assistant District Attorney Michael S. Greek if Schatz was "lying", she said he was not telling the truth. Greek then asked her why Schatz would lie about the incident, to which she did not answer.

Sosnak was previously placed in the county's Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition (ARD) probation program for first time offenders on March 7 but asked to be removed from it and have the matter placed on the trial list.

Following the verdict presiding Judge Steven R. Serfass found Sosnak guilty of a summary count of disorderly conduct and not guilty of a summary count of harassment.

Sentencing was deferred.

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