Hit-and-run Driver Gets New Hearing

December 28, 2017

WILKES-BARRE — Convicted hit-and-run driver Michael Scavone has got a new court hearing as part of an effort to reverse his vehicular homicide conviction.

Scavone, 52, is serving seven to 14 years in state prison for running down triathlete Paula Jones, who was hit while jogging around Harveys Lake in June 2015. Prosecutors say he had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.214 percent more than two hours after the crash.

Scavone pleaded guilty in May 2016 to counts of vehicular homicide, driving under the influence and fleeing the scene of a fatal crash. But in June, he filed an appeal arguing he had ineffective counsel when he entered that plea.

Court records list Scavone’s counsel at the time of his plea as assistant public defenders Ferris Webby, Jessica Larkin and Megan Anderson. The filing by Scavone’s new lawyer, Coley O. Reynolds, says Scavone had been advised that if he did not plead guilty he would be sentenced to 12 to 24 years in prison — when in fact he faced a maximum of 10 to 20 years in prison.

As a result of the misinformation, Scavone entered his plea “unknowingly, unintelligently and involuntarily,” Reynolds wrote.

Describing counsel’s failure to advise and discuss the elements of the crime with Scavone as “inexcusable,” Reynolds seeks to withdrawn Scavone’s plea and allow the matter to proceed to trial.

In an order issued Wednesday, Luzerne County Judge David W. Lupas set a hearing on Scavone’s appeal for Jan. 30.

Scavone is serving his sentence at State Correctional Institution Camp Hill.

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