York County DA now reviewing York Mayor Michael Helfrich case

Written by Dylan Segelbaum/The York Daily Record | Jan 9, 2018 5:56 PM

Photo by Jason Plotkin, York Daily Record

(York) -- York County District Attorney Dave Sunday is now reviewing whether he will bring a lawsuit challenging York Mayor Michael Helfrich's eligibility to serve with his felony convictions.

There's no timetable for when the decision will be made, said Kyle King, a spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office. The statement comes after six people who had asked a judge to declare that Helfrich was not eligible to serve withdrew the complaint on Monday without explanation.

In a statement, Karen Comery, an attorney for Rick Loper, Anthony Orr, Carla Evette Freeland, Margaret Eckles-Ray, Kim Murray and Toni Smith, said the decision to withdraw the complaint was "based on several factors and in no way addresses the merits and/or underlying facts concerning the action."

The district attorney's office, current plaintiffs or different plaintiffs, she noted, could reinitiate the lawsuit in the future. Comery said in an email that she will not be answering questions.

In Pennsylvania, the courts have held that private citizens have standing to sue only after the attorney general and district attorney decline to bring a case.

In 1991, Helfrich, who was then 21, pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy to commit possession with intent to distribute LSD and psilocybin mushrooms and possession of marijuana. He had offered to give someone a ride to the airport who had 2,000 doses of acid.

When Helfrich won a seat on York City Council in 2011, Mayor Kim Bracey went to court. Common Pleas Judge Stephen P. Linebaugh later ruled that he had never been convicted of an "infamous crime" and could remain as a councilman.

Chuck Hobbs, Helfrich's attorney, previously said he's ready to defend their position that the issue has been decided.

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record

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