Ex-Williamsport cop pins hopes of overturning 2011 conviction on Pa. Supreme Court - pennlive.com

2022-06-03 23:47:29 By : Mr. Alex Wu

WILLIAMSPORT -- A former Williamsport police lieutenant continues to fight his 11-year-old corruption conviction, pinning his latest hopes on the state Supreme Court.

Thomas H. Ungard Jr. said Monday he is doing it for “justice” and because he believes the Superior Court last October erred in ruling his speedy trial rights had not been violated.

Ungard, 57, already has served his sentence of 18-months’ probation and a Commonwealth Court panel in 2019 restored his pension, but he said the city has yet to pay him anything.

Potter County Senior Judge John Leete, specially assigned to the Lycoming County case, on Tuesday gave Ungard the authority to represent himself in asking the Supreme Court to accept an appeal of the speedy trial rights decision.

At Ungard’s request, State College attorney Julian G. Allatt asked to withdraw as counsel. The Supreme Court would not accept Ungard’s appeal as long as Allatt was listed at the attorney of record.

The Superior Court panel in its 32-page opinion detailed the numerous efforts by Ungard in county and state courts to have his conviction overturned and the reasons they failed. He had raised the speedy trial issue before when he represented himself but a county judge and a Superior Court panel in 2013 ruled against him.

Ungard was coordinator of the Lycoming County drug task force when charged in 2007 following a presentment by a statewide grand jury. He was not tried until 2011. He was found guilty of two counts of tampering with public records and obstruction of justice.

A Superior Court panel in 2019 vacated his conviction on the obstruction count that accused him of soliciting an individual to lie to investigators.

Then Attorney General Tom Corbett held a news conference in Williamsport in June 2007 announcing the charges against Ungard and former Cpl. Dustin Kreitz. What Corbett hailed as major corruption case turned out to be far from it.

Without an explanation, the felony counts against Kreitz, a former drug task force member, were withdrawn in 2012.

Kreitz then pleaded guilty to a count that as a public official he failed to report receipt of big-screen television from the drug task force, a misdemeanor for which he was fined $350.

Although the jury found Ungard guilty of tampering and obstruction charges, it acquitted him of two other tampering counts and four of theft involving the sale of three vehicles and exercise equipment between 2002 and 2006.

The investigation that led to the charges stemmed from Ungard using a forfeited pickup truck in June 2006 to take then police Chief John McKenna on a Canadian fishing trip. He paid restitution to the task force in the amount equal to the fair market rental value of the pickup.

The tampering counts related to titles he obtained for two vehicles that had been forfeited in drug cases.

He testified at the pension board hearing he bought the vehicles from people who had acquired them through the district attorney’s office. He admitted making a false entry on forms when he bought the vehicles.

He argued he bought the vehicles as a private citizen albeit through a third-party “strawman” but not as a police officer.

Ungard joined the force in May 1993, was suspended with pay on July 15, 2006, and terminated April 24, 2014.

Attempts the learn from city officials why he is not receiving his pension were unsuccessful.

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