Preliminary hearing postponed for former Delaware County, Pa. ADA charged in hit-and-run

Jon Campisi Dec. 14, 2011, 4:07pm

A 31-year-old, once promising former assistant district attorney from suburban Philadelphia had his hearing on hit-and-run charges postponed Tuesday, after it was decided that another proceeding would have to be held to determine if an out-of-county judge should take over the case.

Michael J. Donohue, a former Delaware County, Pa. prosecutor, was arrested in mid November and charged with various criminal violations related to an alleged alcohol-fueled hit-and-run incident in which he is accused of striking a teenager and then fleeing the scene, according to local news reports.

The teen, from Haverford Township in Delaware County, is said to be at home recovering from his injuries.

Donohue was arrested 10 days after the alleged incident occurred, court records show. He was charged with reckless driving, accidents involving death or personal injury, failing to stop and render aid, failing to report the accident, careless driving, simple assault, aggravated assault and recklessly endangering another person.

Donohue was arraigned on Nov. 14 and released after he posted 10 percent of his bail, which was set at $25,000, according to his court docket sheet.

On what was supposed to be Donohue’s preliminary hearing Tuesday before Magisterial District Judge Michael G. Cullen, it was instead decided that the hearing would be postponed, at the request of prosecutors, until it could be determined who should preside at trial, according to news reports.

The county’s president judge, Joseph P. Cronin, Jr., will hear arguments on the prosecution’s motion on Dec. 20, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

A Pennsylvania deputy attorney general is handling the prosecution as opposed to a Delaware County assistant district attorney because of the potential conflict of interest in having a former colleague of Donohue’s handling the case against him.

Donohue’s court docket sheet shows the preliminary hearing has been pushed back to Dec. 27 at 8:30 a.m.

According to news reports, Donohue was on an hours-long drinking binge with coworkers last month when he decided to get into a car and drive home. It was then that he allegedly struck the teenager, and then fled the scene, prosecutors allege.

The accident happened just before 10:30 p.m. at the intersection of Township Line Road and Bryan Street in Delaware County.

Donohue resigned from the Delaware County District Attorney’s Office five days after the incident, according to past news reports. He had been an employee there for five years.

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