YOUNGSTOWN Family faces jail on contempt charge
The family was supposed to be ready for trial this week.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- When Judge Robert Lisotto sent McDonough's Lounge owners and their daughter home Thursday from Mahoning County Common Plea Court, he gave them two choices.
They could show up today with a lawyer and get ready for trial on drug trafficking charges, or show up without one and go back to jail.
Thomas McDonough said one night in jail was enough for him.
"I don't want to go back there," the 68-year-old Humbolt Avenue man said.
Judge Lisotto made it clear he'd run out of patience with McDonough, his wife, Catherine, 67, and their 47-year-old daughter, Mary Catherine McDonough of Palmer Avenue.
Drug charges: Thomas and Catherine McDonough are owners of McDonough's Lounge on South Avenue. They were indicted by a county grand jury in November 2000 on 10 counts of cocaine trafficking and one count of providing money for another person to buy drugs.
Mary Catherine faces the same charges as her parents as well as charges that she possessed, prepared and manufactured drugs for sale.
Assistant Prosecutor Terry Grenga of the Mahoning Valley Drug Task Force said the McDonoughs had agreed to plead guilty in February. But when they got to court, they announced that they wanted to fire their lawyers and start over with new counsel.
Set for trial: Judge Lisotto set their case for trial Wednesday and told them to be ready with their new lawyers. They appeared Wednesday afternoon but didn't have a lawyer.
"The jury was here and ready to go forward," Grenga said.
Contempt of court: The judge sentenced all three McDonoughs to 10 days in the county jail for contempt of court.
They spent Wednesday night in jail and were back before the judge Thursday afternoon. He released them from jail on the condition that they go home, immediately secure a lawyer and come back today.
"If you're not going to do that, then you might as well just stay in jail," the judge said.
Thomas McDonough asked if he could have until Monday, but the judge refused, saying the family already had wasted enough of the court's time.
If the McDonoughs don't have a lawyer today, they'll go back to jail for the rest of their 10-day sentences, the judge said.