WILKES-BARRE — Lawyers for a Plains Township couple facing charges in several criminal cases were unable to have their clients’ bail modified in a drug case Friday, while unforeseen procedural delays pushed back preliminary hearings.
Christine Cromer, 37 — who first made headlines for allegedly accusing state troopers of rape — and husband Donald Cromer, 43, are accused of selling crystal methamphetamine. Donald Cromer also faces a false imprisonment charge for allegedly chaining his wife to a radiator.
Attorneys for the duo went before District Judge James Dixon on Friday asking him to modify bail.
Assistant District Attorney Angela Sperrazza successfully argued against the move, and the Cromers remain incarcerated in the Luzerne County Correctional Facility.
State police arrested the Cromers on April 3, alleging they delivered meth. Donald allegedly sold the drug to a buyer at the couple’s Maffett Street residence Feb. 14, and with Christine on North River Street in Plains Township on Feb. 15. He also stands accused of delivering meth on North River Street on March 15.
The meth charges came as both Cromers were already out on bail for other allegations.
Donald was arrested in March, accused of chaining his wife to a radiator after accusing her of having an extramarital affair.
Christine had been free on $50,000 bail on allegations she falsely accused a trooper of raping her inside a vehicle outside the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino, where she worked as a cocktail waitress, in August 2016. She also alleged in a protection-from-abuse petition that she was raped by a trooper at the casino on Nov. 9, 2016.
Earlier this month, District Judge Donald Whittaker denied the pair bail in the drug case, in which most of the charges are felonies, saying the two represented a danger to society.
On Friday, defense attorney Jonathan Blum asked Judge Dixon to modify Christine’s bail, saying she has no criminal record, is a longtime resident of the area, and owns a home in Plains Township. She also spoke, saying she needed to be home for a minor child who has missed school.
But prosecutor Sperrazza countered that the false rape accusations are misdemeanors and that Christine graduated to felonies when arrested on the drug trafficking charges.
Dixon denied to modify Christine’s bail.
After Christine was escorted out of the courtroom, attorney Joseph Gregory McGraw, who is representing Donald on the false imprisonment charge, requested the magistrate modify his client’s bail.
Sperrazza argued Donald remains a threat to the public, alleging he has violated bail conditions by contacting Christine and has threatened law enforcement officers.
“He has a large source of money he has access to,” Sperrazza said. “He picked up a misdemeanor and few felonies since March.”
“He’s making calls to (Christine Cromer) while he’s incarcerated in violation of his bail conditions on the false imprisonment charge,” Sperrazza added.
Dixon denied to modify Donald Cromer’s bail.
The two also were scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in the drug case on Friday, and Donald was separately scheduled for a preliminary hearing on the false imprisonment charge.
An elevator issue and a medical emergency involving another prisoner at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility prevented sheriff’s deputies from transporting Donald to the county courthouse for his hearings.
Then, defense attorney Blum, who briefly represented Christine, advised the court that she needs another defense lawyer from the county’s pool of conflict attorneys.
Blum said a fellow public defender, Gerald Mecadon, is representing Donald on drug trafficking charges, which means he as another member of the public defender’s office can’t defend Christine.
That means a petition needs to be filed with county court to appoint a conflict attorney for Christine, which could take up to two weeks.
The couple’s preliminary hearings were continued to a later date.