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Clarion County ADA Welsh Explains How Servey Is Free on Bail

Thursday, June 22, 2017 @ 12:06 AM

Posted by Scott Shindledecker

thomas-serveyCLARION, Pa. (EYT) – While accused child rapist Thomas Servey is free on bail, Clarion County Assistant District Attorney Drew Welsh has provided a statement clarifying how and why it happened and the conditions that Servey must follow to be out of jail.

Servey was scheduled to go on trial on June 14 in the Clarion County Court of Common Pleas; however, it was cancelled when a continuance was requested by the defense on June 9. President Judge James Arner granted the request on June 13.

Although online court documents indicate the prosecution had requested the continuance, in reality, it was the defense.

“There are really two issues at play here. One is the DNA (which is why the trial was continued), and the other is Rule 600 (which is the reason his bail was reduced to $1.00),” Welsh said.

“First, the Rule 600 issue. The trial was continued at the request of the defendant, not the Commonwealth.  The Commonwealth filed the motion because Attorney Erich Spessard was at a conference, and we wanted to notify the court as soon as possible, so jurors could be called off ASAP if needed.”

“Attorney Spessard then filed a request for him to be released because of Rule 600,” Welsh said.

“A defendant can be held in jail for 180 days. The clock starts to run when charges are filed and ends when a trial starts,” Welsh said. “The only time which is not included is time which the defendant specifically asks for, or consents to a continuance. Prior to this trial date, the case was continued two times.”

“First, initially the defendant was charged with the one set of charges related to the rape on the day he was arrested. The victim had mentioned that it had happened previously as well. The preliminary hearing was continued for one month, so the Commonwealth could investigate and add additional charges rather than file a second criminal complaint.”

“Second, the defense continued the case in March because with the Terry McIntyre case pending, he would not be able to take both cases to trial in the trial term,” Welsh explained.

Welsh also explained how the county’s court calendar works.

“When a case comes to a preliminary hearing, at the end of that, we are given a set of dates by the court, such as when criminal conferences are and when jury selection will be, etc. Generally, both parties follow this court set timeline,” Welsh said.

“We are also given only a select number of dates for have jury trials. In this case, we were scheduled to have a jury trial June 14 and 15. The only two consecutive days the court provided were on those dates.”

“When the judge calculated the time, he found that the defendant had been in jail a total of 280 days. For purposes of Rule 600, the two continuances were excluded because they were either requested by the defense, or the defense consented to them,” Welsh said. “Those two continuances were for 99 days.  This meant that the defendant was in jail for 181 days for Rule 600 purposes.”

“In other words, the Commonwealth followed the court’s schedule as best we could, this resulted in the defendant being in jail for over 180 days. Based on the schedule set by the court and the dates offered to have a trial, the Commonwealth did not have the opportunity to bring the defendant to trial any sooner. The judge found that the defendant was entitled to get out before the original trial date.”

In terms of Servey being released on bail, Welsh explained that there are specific conditions he must follow.

The court ordered that Servey had to submit a home plan to the Clarion County Adult Probation Office and that he must reside at all times with his mother at 197 Timber Bridge Road, Clarion. No other persons are allowed to live there.

Servey is on house arrest with electronic monitoring and GPS monitoring, and he had to pay for it upfront, which is a condition of the $1.00 bail.

Servey is not allowed to have access to any firearms, and all guns had to be removed from the Timber Bridge address before he was released.

Also, Servey is not allowed to leave the Timber Bridge address except for attending medical and dental appointments and meeting with his attorney in this case. Servey must inform Adult Probation, in advance, of his appointments, where he will be for them and when he will return.

Servey is not allowed to consume or possess alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs, and he cannot be where alcohol is served.

Servey cannot have any contact of any nature or by any means with the victim or potential witnesses in the case.

He must appear at all times as required until full and final disposition of the case, and he must not engage in any criminal activity.

In terms of the DNA testing, Welsh said it was not a factor in Servey being able to make bail.

“The DNA issue was not the reason the defendant got out of jail. The issues with the DNA is a result of the lab being backed up,” Welsh said. Generally, I have seen that DNA takes 6-plus months to be processed and analyzed.”

“I don’t know the details on how many labs there are or what the staffing is, but my impression is that the lab does not have the resources at this time to quickly test the numerous requests for DNA analysis they get.”

Servey has a scheduled meeting on July 14 in Courtroom 1 with ADA Welsh.

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