The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


November 29, 2012

State Supreme Court reverses local drug possession convictions

MIDDLEBURG — Four state police troopers entered a Mount Pleasant Mills home without a search warrant late one night in August 2009 in an attempt to serve a warrant on summary traffic violation against a person who didn’t live there.

The reason for the warrantless nighttime raid? The troopers were working the night shift and had a tip that Ryan Lecroy — wanted for failing to respond to a traffic citation following an accident — was at the Buckwheat Valley Road home.

He wasn’t. But four occupants, including a 4-year-old and a pregnant woman, were asleep inside.

The raid led to the convictions of Kent L. and Brandy L. Berkheimer on possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia following a bench trial presided over by Snyder-Union Senior Judge Louise O. Knight. Each was sentenced to a one-month to 23-month jail term and a $1,000 fine.

Knight ruled that while Troopers Rodney Shoeman and William Gangloff, accompanied by Troopers Tyson Havens and Scott Havens, didn’t have a search warrant to enter the home, the evidence seized was admissible under an “independent source” rule because they could smell the odor of marijuana outside the door.

The Berkheimers appealed to a-judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court and lost.

Represented by State College attorney Matthew McClenahan, they reargued the case to the full nine-member superior Court and won a unanimous reversal of their conviction.

In its 38-page decision released last week, the court found the troopers’ nighttime raid was an invasion of the Berkheimers’ privacy and evidence was improperly seized.

The court was also critical of the troopers’ decision to take the four occupants of the home to a neighbor’s house to wait a few hours while a warrant was obtained and a search was conducted.

“Seldom has this court encountered conduct by law enforcement officers so abjectly (hostile)” to the state’s search and seizure law.

Read more of this story in Thursday's edition of The Daily Item


Text Only
  • xfire20b.jpg Firefighters battle blaze at BJ's in Danville

    DANVILLE — A fire Sunday damaged BJ’s Steak & Rib House, 291 Mill St., and endangered a neighboring shop and apartment building.

    April 20, 2014 6 Photos

  • Chase leads to jail

    MILTON — Charges were pending Sunday against a man allegedly tied to a rash of recent burglaries in Milton borough who ran from Milton Police on Saturday.

    April 20, 2014

  • Police: 3 steal debit cards, $10G in jewelry for drug trip to NY

    NEW BERLIN — Three Valley teenagers are under investigation for allegedly stealing debit cards and roughly $10,000 in jewelry from three parked vehicles in Union County earlier this month to fund a trip to New York to buy drugs.

    April 20, 2014

  • Valley farmers keep eye out for deadly pig virus

    CAMP HILL — Pork producers across the commonwealth — and in the Valley — are on the alert for a still existing virus that last year killed 12 piglets in Pennsylvania and a million piglets around the country.

    April 20, 2014

  • Loaded language

    Sometimes it’s the offhand remark that’s the most telling. Indeed, the way we Americans casually, often unthinkingly, incorporate gun metaphors into our everyday slang says a lot about how deeply embedded guns are in our culture and our politics, and how difficult it is to control or extract them. Consider this list, presented as bullet points — which are themselves so conventional, so central to the typography of mind-numbing PowerPoint presentations, that you can forget what their shape represents.

    April 20, 2014

  • Prize claim cost man $1,829

    WINFIELD — Western Union is doing what it can to educate people about the risks in wiring money. An entire section on its website ( is devoted to providing information that might reduce the risk of people falling victim to fraud schemes.

    April 19, 2014

  • Reel good time enjoyed by 200 young anglers

    TREVORTON — It only took about three minutes for J.C. Wallish to reel in his first fish at the Little Shamokin Creek Watershed Association’s annual Youth Trout Derby on Saturday.

    April 19, 2014

  • Elytte Barbour's 'bad trip' put him on the road to prison, friend says

    SUNBURY — A former roommate of slaying suspect Elytte Barbour drove 450 miles from North Carolina to spend 45 minutes in the Northumberland County Prison with his best friend last week, and was not surprised when he heard Barbour say: “I am afraid to spend the rest of my life in jail.”

    April 19, 2014

  • bonehunt20a.jpg 60 dogs battle for biscuits at annual bone hunt

    It was a scene similar to ones playing out all over the nation this weekend: nervous parents holding baskets and bags, watching their little ones search for goodies in the grass.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona tribe set to prosecute first non-Indian under a new law

    PASCUA YAQUI INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. — Tribal police chief Michael Valenzuela drove through darkened desert streets, turned into a Circle K convenience store and pointed to the spot beyond the reservation line where his officers used to take the non-Indian men who battered Indian women.

    April 19, 2014

The Daily Marquee

How do you eat your chocolate Easter bunny?

Feet first
Tail first
Ears first
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley


Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.