Constitutional Law

Dad of Imprisoned Teen Is Ticketed for Ringing Doorbell of Sentencing Judge's Home


Arguably looking for trouble, the father of a New York teen who got an 11-year prison term last month for shooting a classmate in the arm recently rang the doorbell of the Oneonta home of the sentencing judge.

The wife of Otsego County Court Judge Brian Burns answered and asked Anthony Pacherille Sr. to leave. He did. However, the incident resulted in a ticket yesterday for second-degree harassment, reports the Observer-Dispatch.

Pacherille, 44, just wanted to confirm the address because he planned to protest his 17-year-old son’s sentence in front of the judge’s home and needed the information for a permit, according to his lawyer, Frank Policelli. The attorney contends that Pacherille’s constitutional free-speech rights were chilled by the harassment charge.

But Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl says there was no legitimate reason for Pacherille to ring the bell.

“The bottom line is this: You picket someone to try to get them to change their mind or to make them do something differently,” he tells the newspaper. “Pacherille’s son’s case is over with, and the judge couldn’t change anything even if he wanted to. Therefore, the only reason to picket at Judge Burns’ house is to harass.”

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