Patrick Hill, the West Chester student accused of selling steroids to undercover cops, appeared in District Court on Friday, Feb. 6 and applied to Chester County Drug Court.Hill’s preliminary hearing was scheduled for Judge Gwenn Knapp’s courtroom on E. Union Street at 9 a.m. Assistant District Attorney Alex Silo was assigned to the hearing with the burden of presenting prima fascia evidence. Prima fascia is the mere standard of convincing a court that evidence exists of the charges as to warrant putting the defendant on trial.
Hill’s court appointed public defender, Kevin Ansley, was granted a continuance until 1:30 p.m. after citing conflict with another case. In the interim, Hill replaced Ansley with his own attorney, Joseph Diorio. Diorio counseled his client as Silo conferred with officers from the Drug Task Force, which made the arrest in January. Hill then informed the judge he was waiving his preliminary hearing, and instead filed an application to Drug Court, following the strategy of Michael Kaighn, Jr. and Michael Mayberry, Jr., two fellow students whom the Drug Task Force recently arrested for dealing marijuana out of Hill’s own Rosewood Apartments.
“The Drug Court Program is a new approach to drug offenses, which offers intensive help to fight your addiction, encourages you to change your life style, and offers you the opportunity to earn a dismissal of the charges against you,” claims the application.
The application goes on, “the program will be at least nine months long and may last as long as two years. The length of the program depends on how well you succeed in curing your addiction and becoming a productive, crime-free citizen.”
Technically, the application stipulates that one must have an addiction to be eligible, but Silo explained that most applicants are accepted, provided they have no previous convictions for drugs or violence, and are not currently on probation or parole.
If admitted to the program by Chester County, Hill will be assigned a probation officer and must report to Drug Court as often as once a week, for which he will probably be charged a “supervision fee” of $315. He will be subject to drug testing and required to hold employment, or else involve himself in school or community service.
“This program will be very demanding, but it can make a major change in your life, can prevent you from having a criminal record and can keep you from serving a prison sentence,” the application reads.