WILKES-BARRE — Jerry Sandusky’s infamous case was not the only high-profile appeal heard by a panel of state Superior Court judges Tuesday at the Luzerne County Courthouse.
Judges Jack Panella, Sally Updyke Mundy and William Platt heard appeals made by attorneys who represent former state representative Michael Veon and Hernan Torres, a Luzerne County man serving a sentence on sexual assault charges.
The judges will issue rulings at a later date.
Veon, 56, was sentenced to at least six years in 2010 for his role in a scheme that used taxpayer funds for election campaigns and paying bonuses to state employees who helped those efforts.
Veon is appealing a second conviction prosecutors secured earlier this year when they accused Veon and his district office manager of diverting state grant money from a nonprofit Veon ran, Beaver Initiative for Growth, for his political benefit.
A judge added an additional nine months to his 6-to-14-year sentence and ordered him to pay $135,615 in restitution — both issues that Veon is appealing.
Veon’s attorneys argue that a judge made errors, including allowing prosecutors to add information against Veon, that the Commonwealth cannot be a “victim” for purposes of the crimes for which Veon was convicted and that prosecutors destroyed witness interview notes.
Prosecutors argue there is no basis for Veon’s claims and his convictions were supported by evidence in their respective cases.
Torres, 41, of Tamarack Street, Hazleton, was sentenced in September 2012 to 16 to 32 years in prison for sexually assaulted a teen girl over a three-year period. Torres was found guilty after a June 2012 jury trial.
Torres’ attorney, Caelie McCormick Sweigart, argued county Judge Joseph Sklarosky Jr. improperly allowed a doctor to testify about statements the victim in the case made during the course of an examination in which she identified Torres as her abuser.
Sweigart also argues prosecutors in the case did not properly notify Torres that they were seeking mandatory minimum sentences against him.
Luzerne County Assistant District Attorney Gregory Skibitsky argued prosecutors gave Torres proper notification at the time of his conviction that he faced mandatory minimum sentences on some counts and that the doctor’s testimony is admissible and Sklarosky did not err in allowing the testimony at Torres’ trial.