HARRISBURG — The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania on April 10 affirmed a lower court's denial of a petition to appoint JohnCarlo Oren as the deputy constable for the Borough of Delaware Water Gap.
Constable Manuel Rodriguez had petitioned the the Court of Common Pleas of Monroe County to confirm Oren pursuant to Section 7122 (a) of Title 44 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.
A hearing was scheduled, and the Monroe County district attorney was directed to perform a background investigation. The district attorney was asked to file any objections at least five days prior to the hearing. In the hearing, the district attorney contested Rodriguez's petition, according to court records.
Rodriguez had attached a Pennsylvania State Police Records Check Certificate (PA Clearance Certificate) to his petition. In it, he indicated that Oren had no criminal record. However, there was a criminal history on Oren showing that he had been convicted three times in other jurisdictions with driving under the influence (DUI).
He used a different name in some of those instances. When he requested a PA Clearance Certificate, Oren failed to list those other names, court records state.
In addition, Oren was investigated for criminal fraud and forgery. Oren’s appointment as constable for Lehman Township in Pike County had also been previously suspended because he had left the jurisdiction and not informed the court that he moved, according to the trial court opinion.
Rodriguez claimed he was unaware of Oren’s criminal history.
The petition Rodriguez filed was denied by the trial court because of the criminal background and “the dishonest and evasive nature Oren exhibited while explaining his previous convictions and the ongoing investigation.”
As the appellant, Rodriguez asserted several arguments, including that the district attorney had no standing to appear in the hearing and that Rodriguez had not had sufficient notice of the district attorney’s findings. However, the court ruled that he failed to cite any legal authority to bolster his argument in favor of Oren. As a result, the order of the trial court was affirmed.