The withdrawal of several charges against a woman whom police say assaulted three people in a November road rage incident in Baldwin Township has raised some eyebrows.
While it is typical for district magistrates to grant the withdrawal of charges based on a lack of evidence, it also often occurs that the victims and/or witnesses of crimes do not wish to participate in the accused's prosecution.
Such was the case of Amanda Marie Petrelli, whom a Baldwin Township police officer drew his gun at on Nov. 13 after a traffic accident involving the Dormont Borough woman escalated into violence.
According to Baldwin Township police Chief Terrence P. O'Brien, Petrelli, 29, of Tennessee Avenue, punched two other women in the face and ran her vehicle into a male pedestrian after being involved in a vehicle collision that night at the intersection of Dewalt and Newport drives.
But on Tuesday, district Judge David J. Barton granted the withdrawal of all charges against Petrelli except for driving under the influence of alcohol, which she'll face in a formal arraignment at the Allegheny County Courthouse on Feb. 6.
Withdrawn were minor offenses related to marijuana possession, but also withdrawn were more serious offenses that involved the victims—aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.
On Thursday, Judge Barton explained that a representative of the district attorney's office, who regularly appears at Barton's Caste Village courtroom on behalf of the state of Pennsylvania, requested that the charges be withdrawn.
"They (the district attorney's office) have the unfettered discretion to withdraw any charge," Barton said. "It's technically the district attorney moving to withdraw, and the court grants the motion."
Barton also said that, even if he objects, the district attorney's office might still be able to withdraw.
So why the withdrawal of Petrelli's charges in particular?
Essentially, the victims did not wish to participate in the prosecution, Barton said.
"They said they weren't hurt and didn't want to go forward with the charges that related to them."
Read through other Baldwin Township police items here.