Senior judge rejects Mosey’s lawsuit
HOLLIDAYSBURG — A civil court lawsuit with multiple complaints against a Blair County judge and the Altoona Mirror has been dismissed.
Senior Judge John D. Kuhn of Adams County recently rejected the lawsuit that Tarence Mosey filed in Blair County in September 2018, outlining complaints about prosecution in his criminal case led by former Assistant District Attorney Jackie Bernard, currently a county judge, and Mirror staff for the publishing of related stories.
Mosey is the Bellwood-area man arrested in August 2016 and charged with homicide by vehicle while DUI and related charges based on a fatal traffic accident at 3 a.m. May 27, 2015. That’s when Mosey, who was driving a Jeep Cherokee on the North Eighth Street Bridge, struck and killed the pregnant 29-year-old Brandyn Boyd, who was standing outside her disabled vehicle.
Mosey rendered a guilty plea on Oct. 10, 2017, to homicide by vehicle and related charges in exchange for a three- to six-year prison sentence. While a state Superior Court panel has vacated his plea and remanded the criminal case to Blair County, that action doesn’t affect Mosey’s civil court lawsuit, which Kuhn dismissed in a 32-page ruling.
Kuhn said that for the most part, Mosey’s complaints are “time barred” meaning that they were too late and fell outside the applicable statue of limitations.
In other cases, Kuhn found that Mosey provided no evidence to support claims of defamation, invasion of privacy, abuse of process and infliction of emotional distress. Mosey directed those complaints at Bernard and against Mirror staff writers Kay Stephens, Greg Bock and Phil Ray.
The judge, in considering Mosey’s claims, reviewed several newspaper stories about Mosey’s criminal case and Bernard’s prosecution of his case through the county court system.
“All the information regarded matters of public concern at the time,” Kuhn said.
In one of the stories, the Mirror reported information in court about Mosey’s feigned suicide attempt, a factor to be considered during a bail hearing. Mosey complained that it shouldn’t have been made public.
“(Mosey) has not averred that the published information … was not truthful,” Kuhn said. “Furthermore, the information involves a matter of public concern. Therefore, the Altoona Mirror defendants’ First Amendment rights preclude (Mosey’s) right to seek compensation for publication of information,” Kuhn stated.
The judge also mentioned that Mosey, incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale, was allocated extra time to research and address legal flaws in his original complaint. But that opportunity is no longer available based on Kuhn’s ruling.
“It is my view,” the judge said in concluding his order, “that (Mosey) is incapable of stating a viable cause of action even if given another chance to amend his complaint.”