Schemery Zicolello

Jury sides with couple in Little League World Series pin dispute

In an exemplary case of citizens' justice, Attorney Mike Zicolello successfully won close to $60,000 in compensatory and punitive damages for a husband and wife that claimed a police captain unlawfully seized Little League World Series pins. Randy and Janete Shrey claimed that Captain Raymond Kontz III took their pins during what he referred to as a criminal investigation into an official complaint from Little League International that the Shreys had illegally used the copyrighted Little League logo on Williamsport Police Badge Souvenir Little League pins. Captain Kontz threatened to charge the Shrey's with a felony if they did not turn the pins over to him. Under the threat of being charged with a serious crime, the Shreys turned over 655 Williamsport Police Badge Souvenir Little League pins they had designed for trading at the upcoming 2008 Little League World Series. The Shreys had a personal collection of over 12,000 Little League Pins and would design a new pin each year to trade during the World Series to enhance their collection.

The 655 pins seized by Captain Kontz mysteriously disappeared. They were not given to the Department's Property and Evidence Officer and no Property Record was ever completed by Kontz. In fact, Captain Kontz never created an Incident Report, or any record whatsoever of his "so-called" investigation and seizure. Although the Shrey's contacted the Mayor of Williamsport to complain of Kontz conduct, their efforts were met with a call from Kontz to either drop the matter or be charged with a felony because it is the practice of the Mayor's office to simply refer citizen complaints back to the Police Department.

The Shreys also pursued the matter with Little League because they knew that the company that had made their pins was licensed by Little League to produce pins with the Little League logo and they did not understand why Little League would make a complaint. They discovered that no one at Little League had made any such complaint.

Almost 2 years after Shrey's pins were seized, County Detectives agreed to investigate the matter. Upon learning of the investigation, Kontz "found" the pins in a locked drawer in his office and turned them over to the County Detectives. However, 141 of the seized pins were missing. After the District Attorney refused to charge Kontz, the Shreys represented by Michael Zicolello of Schemery Zicolello, filed a Civil Rights Lawsuit against Captain Kontz in Federal Court.

The Shreys and Zicolello believed that after learning of the Shreys' Police Badge pins, which were listed on EBay, Captain Kontz had decided to concoct a scam to seize the Shreys' pins because he did not like the idea that someone who was not a police officer was making a Little League Souvenir Williamsport Police Badge Pin. So, Kontz fabricated a story that administrators at Little League International headquarters had complained the pins were using the Little League logo without authorization as an excuse to seize the pins. After the District Attorney refused to charge Kontz, the Shreys contacted well-known attorney Michael Zicolello and five years later justice has been served. After hearing all the evidence, a jury of found that Kontz had indeed fabricated the complaint from Little League and had unlawfully seized the Shreys pins awarding the Shreys over $12,000 in compensatory damages and $45,000 in punitive damages.

Williamsport's mayor, Gabriel Campana, stood behind Kontz

as expected; he had promoted Kontz himself prior to the pin collection scandal. Campana said "I am very disappointed with the outcome...Ray Kontz is a good, honest cop. In today's world, anybody can sue for anything." Zicolello respectfully declined to comment on Campana's thoughts directly after the trial, but has written a letter addressing why Campana is wrong and why it is important that innocent people are not taken advantage of by over-ambitious police officers who abuse their power.

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Commonwealth v. Candice Steinbacher – Motion for Judgement Acquittal Granted

Motion for Judgment of Acquittal for a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) prosecution was granted by Lycoming County President Judge Nancy L. Butts, after Attorney Kyle Rude argues that the Commonwealth could not prove Ms. Steinbacher was in actual physical control of a motor vehicle. Ms. Steinbacher was arrested after Williamsport City Police believed she switched seats with her boyfriend in order to avoid an arrest for DUI.

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