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May 12, 2010 - DUI Charges Against Ex-cop to be Refiled

City police are refiling a drunken driving charge against a former Scranton detective found intoxicated in an unmarked police car on Christmas Eve, Chief David Elliott said Tuesday.

A driving under the influence charge against Patrick J. Tobin, 61, was dismissed Thursday by Magisterial District Judge John Pesota when the arresting officer, Sgt. Philip Condron, failed to appear at Mr. Tobin's preliminary hearing in Central Court.

Mr. Tobin allegedly had a blood-alcohol level of 0.198, more than double the legal limit of 0.08, when officers discovered him passed out behind the wheel of the running car while parked in the 300 block of Mulberry Street early on Dec. 24. Taken into custody at the scene on suspicion of DUI, he was formally charged Feb. 19.

Chief Elliott said Sgt. Condron was out of town early last week and unaware of Mr. Tobin's pending hearing. The Lackawanna County district attorney's office notified Chief Elliott afterward that the DUI charge was dismissed when the officer did not show up.

The charge will be refiled, the chief said.

"It has to go through the system again," Chief Elliott said. "From our end, the paperwork was submitted to be refiled by Friday."

The new complaint against Mr. Tobin was forwarded to Magisterial District Judge James Kennedy for approval. However, Judge Kennedy's office said Tuesday that because Judge Pesota dismissed the charge, he must also approve its refiling.

Mr. Tobin, a city police officer for almost 30 years, was placed on paid administrative leave after his arrest pending a departmental review of his conduct.

Mayor Chris Doherty terminated Mr. Tobin's employment after the officer did not appear for a disciplinary hearing on March 26, Chief Elliott said.


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