HOLLIDAYSBURG - Assault charges have been dismissed against an Altoona woman who was involved in a struggle with Blair County sheriff's deputies during a recent drug trial.
Annette Amy Detwiler, 46, will face only a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct as the result of the April incident in front of the Blair County Courthouse, Magisterial District Judge Paula Aigner ruled Tuesday.
Detwiler was charged with two counts of simple assault and disorderly conduct, but Aigner said that, while two sheriff's deputies suffered "scrapes," the injuries did not rise to the level of "bodily injury," the standard necessary for an assault charge
Detwiler's actions in waving her arms and struggling with sheriff's deputies, however, supported a charge of disorderly conduct, Aigner ruled.
The disorderly conduct charge was sent to Blair County Court.
The court did not address defense attorney John Siford's argument that deputies never should have taken Detwiler into custody during Derrick Dewight Dawson's drug trial.
"The more I hear about this, the more incredulous it is," Siford said.
Sheriff's deputies took Detwiler into custody for allegedly not honoring a subpoena, but Siford said deputies don't have the power to arrest someone for violation of a subpoena until a judge issues a warrant, Siford said. That argument remains for a Blair County judge to decide.
Detwiler was in the courthouse to view Dawson's trial, but she was told by Dawson's attorney, Philip O. Robertson, that she and a friend with her were not permitted in the courtroom. At that point, Detwiler announced she and her friend were leaving the courthouse, authorities said.
Assistant District Attorney Pete Weeks, hearing the comment, told a courtroom deputy, Beth Seidel, that he had a subpoena for Detwiler and that she was not to leave the courthouse.
Seidel, testifying Tuesday in Aigner's courtroom, said Detwiler, who was in a lobby outside a second-floor courtroom, upon hearing that comment, began running from the courthouse. She exited the second floor, went down a stairwell and out the front door of the courthouse.
By this point, Seidel had received the subpoena from Weeks and she and several deputies, including Brian Regitz and Tim Teltow, were in pursuit.
By the time they caught up with Detwiler, she was getting in her car, parked across Allegheny Street from the courthouse.
Regitz and Teltow tried to coax Detwiler from her car, but she wouldn't get out.
"I have a subpoena for you," Seidel said she told Detwiler.
By this point many people were taking note of the struggle, and Seidel said there were "a lot of people talking ... voices raised."
Detwiler was taken to the ground and handcuffed and then transported to a holding cell in the courthouse where the subpoena was finally served on her.
Detwiler was not under subpoena when deputies chased her, and not honoring a subpoena is something a judge must address, Siford said. He asked that all of the charges against Detwiler be dismissed.
The case against Detwiler was not about the subpoena but about the way she reacted to deputies, Blair County District Attorney Richard A. Consiglio said.
Detwiler's next appearance in court will be in July, Aigner said.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.