* Today’s front page LNP article about civil forfeiture in Berks County focuses on a car that was seized (it is now online – click here). In Lancaster County, Nichole Melton was one of the very few who tried to fight the forfeiture to get her car back (see her statement below the judge’s order). According to her son’s docket, a hearing was held on October 12th, 2016 before President Judge Dennis Reinaker. The next day he issued the following order:
ORDER (NO FEE)
AND NOW,THIS 13TH DAY OF OCTOBER, 2016, PURSUANT TO A FORFEITURE HEARING, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT ALL CLAIMS OF RIGHT, TITLE AND INTEREST OF NICHOLE MELTON IN ONE (1) 2010 NISSAN MAXIMA, HAVING A VEHICLE IDENTIRICATION NUMBER OF #1N4AA5AP6AC860520; AND CONTENTS OF THE VEHICLE ARE HEREBY DECLARED TO BE TERMINATED, REVOKED AND RENDERED NULL AND VOID. SAID VEHICLE AND THE CONTENTS OF THE VEHICLE ARE HEREBY DECLARED TO BE FORFEITED TO THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF LANCASTER COUNTY, PURSUANT TO SECTION 6801 (A) OF THE JUDICIAL CODE, 42 PA.C.S.A. 6801 (A) FOR USE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW.
THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES, IS ORDERED TO MAKE ANY NECESSARY TRANSFERS OF TITLE AND/OR REGISTRATION AS REQUESTED BY THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA.
BY THE COURT: DENNIS E. REINAKER, PRESIDENT JUDGE
THEY’RE GRABBING CASH
IN LANCASTER COUNTY TOO!
The lead story in today’s LNP print edition (not currently online) and Assistant District Attorney Cheryl Ondechek and Judge David Ashworth from CrimeWatch when she won an award in 2015 (click here).
Why is this article centered almost entirely on civil asset forfeiture in Berks County and their District Attorney? Why isn’t LNP looking at Lancaster County where they are in a court battle for District Attorney Craig Stedman’s records?
Go to the Lancaster County Prothonotary’s office and put in “Cheryl Ondechek.” There are 240 “Petitions for Forfeiture,” filed by Ondechek with all but three in the years 2015 to the present.
Talk about a cash grab! And while these list an amount of cash the DA’s office wants, many of these also involve cars, cell phones, TVs and other property they are seizing.
And where is a discussion about the Judges who sign off on these petitions? Since Ondechek and Judge David Ashworth both work in the drug court, Ashworth signs most of the orders for the petitions she signs and usually on the exact same day.
I will work on adding up just the cash value of the money she has seized in the 240 petitions she has filed. And where is that money really going?