Reams' hearing delay takes DA by surprise
SUNBURY - A hearing to move the case of Naheem J. Reams to juvenile court was postponed Tuesday after defense attorney Timothy Bowers claimed he wasn't given enough notice about the proceeding.
It led to some tense moments between Bowers and District Attorney Tony Rosini, who complained about an expensive witness being in town prepared to testify.
Reams, now 18, charged with trying to run over a city policeman last year before being shot by the officer, was scheduled for a hearing at 9:15 a.m. before county President Judge William H. Wiest on motions to "decertify" the case.
At 9:05 a.m., Bowers, of Sunbury, entered the courtroom and informed Rosini the hearing wouldn't be taking place because he hadn't been given proper notice. Bowers said he only found out about the hearing that morning.
"I've got a witness that I'm paying $1,200 to be here," Rosini said, referring to a psychologist who was scheduled to testify.
The two attorneys left the courtroom to speak with Wiest about the situation.
After a 25-minute conference in chambers, Bowers emerged into a hallway and headed down the steps. Rosini followed and said to a reporter, "Hearing continued by the defense." Asked to elaborate, he wouldn't offer any further comment.
Later in the afternoon, the district attorney talked about the chain of events.
"Mr. Bowers said he never received notice on the hearing after he asked for a continuance before the Dec. 16 hearing," Rosini said. "The court administration was called in and showed copies of the notice that were sent to him, but he said he never received it and asked for another continuance, which was granted."
Rosini also clarified that he didn't know the exact amount the county would be billed for the witness, and that he did spend some time reviewing the case with the psychologist.
Bowers could not be reached for comment later Tuesday.
According to the Pennsylvania Unified Judicial System's web docket site, the hearing was rescheduled to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 23, before Wiest.
Charged as adult
Reams, who pleaded not guilty to all the offenses in a Sept. 10 preliminary hearing, was charged Aug. 2 as an adult with six counts of aggravated assault and other charges involving the June 5 pursuit that ended at Chestnut and Front streets.
It was shortly after 1 a.m. when Sunbury police were attempting to clear the 400 block of North Fourth Street for street sweeping when they encountered Reams, 17 at the time, who they said for unknown reasons fled in his car at speeds that would reach 70 mph.
When Reams slowed near Chestnut and Front streets, officers moved in, but police say Reams struck two police vehicles with his car, and caused minor injuries to one officer when he was briefly pinned at his car door.
Reams then revved his engine and drove toward another officer who had his gun drawn, police said, prompting the officer to fire. The shot went through the windshield and struck Reams near the sternum.
Reams spent 20 days in the hospital before being placed in a juvenile detention facility on an unrelated warrant. After being charged in relation to the chase, he was committed to Northumberland County Prison, where operations commander Brian Wheary said in June he would be housed separately from the rest of the population.
Rosini found that the officer was justified in firing the shot.
In addition to the aggravated assault counts, Reams faces two felony counts of fleeing or attempting to elude police, a charge of driving under the influence of marijuana, two misdemeanor counts of recklessly endangering another person, two misdemeanor counts of accidents involving death or personal injury and a number of summary traffic offenses.