DA asks judge to reconsider sentence

Lycoming County prosecutors have asked a county judge to reconsider his recent sentencing of an inmate whose bad behavior in prison has plagued the court systems and law enforcement since she was incarcerated in 2007 on a forgery charge.

Assistant District Attorney Martin Wade called Dawn M. Ball, 43, a “scourge,” and “probably the worst inmate in the state.”

In December of 2009, Ball was serving a one- to eight-year prison sentence for forgery at the State Correctional Institute in Muncy when she spit on a correctional officer and threw a liquid substance out her cell door, striking the officer in the face. Wade said the substance was a combination of urine and shampoo.

Ball was convicted of aggravated harassment by a prisoner and simple assault in September of 2012. County Judge Marc F. Lovecchio presided over the trial and on April 29 this year, sentenced Ball to serve 21 to 42 months for the 2009 offenses.

The district attorney’s office said that “Lovecchio ran the sentence concurrently with the prison sentence she (Ball) was already serving, and gave Ball credit for the entire 42 months served from June 17, 2010, to the present.”

Wade said it is illegal to postdate a sentence. In a motion to reconsider filed at the Lycoming County courthouse, he argues that “there is simply no statutory provision which would permit a sentencing judge to provide credit for time served on a prior unrelated charge,” calling the sentence inappropriate because it “depreciates the seriousness of the offense.”

He said an appropriate sentence would be two to four years in state prison to run consecutively with her current sentence, which is set to expire in August. Wade said Ball is a constant problem for prison staff and that Lovecchio’s sentence, would, at the least, give the staff at Muncy a “brief reprieve from her ongoing antics.”

The district attorney’s office said Lovecchio’s “lenient” sentence places “correctional staff in danger by sending the wrong message to Ball and other state inmates that they can assault prison staff with impunity.”

In the motion, Ball’s extensive misconduct is listed, including smuggling pills into her cell, damaging property, assaulting other inmates and threatening to start riots.

Wade said the list does not include numerous acts of misconduct Ball committed since August 2012. He said she once tried to eat the backseat of a police cruiser, adding that her misbehavior is so severe that almost all interactions with her now are recorded on video.

Wade said Ball currently has three additional criminal cases pending, and if she is released in August, she’ll just be sent to Lycoming County Prison where she will wait for at least a year before one of the cases goes to trial.

Lovecchio could not be reached for comment.