Coaldale councilman's fate depends on pardon bd.
Councilman David J. Yelito, of Coaldale, was denied a request to stay the action filed against him in the Schuylkill County Court by District Attorney Karen Byrnes Noon to remove him from office because he has a criminal record of dealing in illegal drugs in 1984,following a hearing held Friday morning. Judge Charles M.Miller gave Yelito 20 days to respond and prepare a defense to the district attorney's complaint.
Yelito was requesting the delay because he filed on June 17, 2013 an application for pardon before the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons and is awaiting their ruling.
The petition for a pardon will determine whether Yelito will qualify to be an officeholder since a determination of pardon effectively erases any conviction.
Attorney Robert T. Yurchak, counsel for Yelito, argued to the court that the borough will not be prejudiced by staying the proceedings against Yelito until resolution of the pardon application but Yelito will be immensely prejudiced if there is no stay of the proceedings since he may be removed from office.
If the ruling comes in the next 20 days granting him a pardon, then the district attorney's suit becomes moot. Judge Miller refused the delay because there will be a general election on Nov, 5 and Yelito is a candidate seeking re-election to council.
Last May 31, District Attorney Noon filed a Quo Warranto complaint alleging that Yelito is not qualified to be a borough councilman alleging he had plead guilty to a felony count of delivery of a controlled substance on April 5,1984 in Carbon County Court. Quo Warranto is essentially a civil proceeding, remedial in nature, which is used for the purpose of trying the right to hold office. The purpose of Quo Warranto is to ascertain the right of Yelito to presently exercise the office in dispute and a district attorney has the power to bring such an action under Article II, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution..
Attorney Yurchak's argument was that a long period of time has elapsed since 1984 and Yelito deserves the right to apply for a pardon to erase one indiscretion in his life and pointed out he has a lifetime of good works which should not go unrewarded.
In the suit filed by District Attorney Noon she states her office received complaints from numerous residents of the borough and claims because Yelito violating the Controlled Substance, Drug Device and Cosmetic Act 35, Possession with intent to deliver is graded as a felony offense and he must be removed from office.
Attached to her complaint was a copy of a plea agreement on file in the Carbon County Courts showing Yelito on April 2, 1984 entered a guilty plea to a charge of delivery of a controlled substance and on May 21, 1984, he was sentenced to serve four to eight months in the Carbon County Prison. Attached was a copy of information filed to court by the State Attorney General's Office stating on Aug. 19, 1983, Yelito from a mobile home on Hollow Estates, Lehighton, delivered methamphetamine to an undercover agent for the Bureau of Narcotics and received $775.