Two weeks ago I (attarney Ryan W. McAllister) had a sentencing hearing for a client I represented in a Retail Theft case. The case had been dragging on since January of 2010. My client, who was accused of taking a $15 item from a Berks County department store, had agreed to plead guilty to 1 count of Retail Theft. The initial offer from the district attarney was 2 years of probation since this was alleged to be a second offense for my client, and the charge was graded as a Misdemeanor of the 2nd Degree. According to the district attarney’s records, my client was arrested and convicted of a Retail Theft back in the mid-80′s in another county in Pennsylvania.
My client informed me that he had no recollection of that prior conviction. As a result, I contacted the various police departments and district courts searching for some “proof” of this prior conviction. Nobody that I spoke with could locate any actual court records of this prior Retail Theft.
Based on this information, I filed a motion in the Berks County Courts on my client’s current case requesting that the Berks County Court order the district attarney to present “proof”, in the form of certified court documents, of the alleged prior Retail Theft. At the sentencing hearing, the district attarney had no choice but to acknowledge that he was unable to uncover any evidence of my client’s alleged prior Retail Theft conviction. Instead of two years of supervision and probation, my client received a fine of $300.00, nothing more. He won’t have to deal with any of the restrictive terms of probation that he was facing under the first deal offered by the district attarney, and he avoided a misdemeanor conviction on his record.
Another great result for a client of Ebner, Nevins & McAllister!