The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

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

 

1
Text Only
News
  • Donations to Budd family near $60,000

    SHAMOKIN DAM — The Valley continues to give as fundraisers keep forming and donations steadily pour in for the Budd family, of Ohio, while Sharon Budd continues her fight back from drastic injuries suffered when a rock thrown from an Interstate 80 overpass in Union County slammed through the windshield of the family’s vehicle three weeks ago.

    July 30, 2014

  • B-17 fly-over to honor 'Dutch' VanKirk

    NORTHUMBERLAND — A Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress will soar in honor of the late Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk during his graveside services Tuesday morning.

    July 30, 2014

  • dogs31.jpg Is Spike spiteful?

    Dog is often considered man’s best friend, but a recent study shows he may be a little green over how much time you spend with other pooches.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • CORBETT_TomC.jpg Corbett: VanKirk helped to save the world

    Gov. Tom Corbett today issued the following statement on the death of Northumberland County native Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay:

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Afraid of grandson? "Now I am," Amanda Trometter says

    Erick Trometter slept with hunting and butcher knives beside his bed while living with the grandmother he allegedly attacked on the morning he was shot after allegedly pulling a knife on a city police officer.

    July 30, 2014

  • vk1.jpg Ted VanKirk: Seen from above

    The Daily Item is republishing online its spring 2012 interview with Northumberland native Ted “Dutch” VanKirk, the navigator of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first of two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945. The story appeared in Inside Pennsylvania magazine. VanKirk died Monday in Georgia at age 93.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • vankirk_ted1.jpg “The Japanese were beaten before we even dropped the bomb”

    Compared to the 58 other missions they ran together, the one they were assigned to carry out on Aug. 6, 1945 was easy.
    There would be no return fire, flying conditions were ideal, and if all went according to plan, they would be back to the base in Tinian by nightfall.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Ritz-Craft Ritz-Craft to hire 60 for Mifflinburg plant

    MIFFLINBURG — Sixty jobs are coming to Mifflinburg as a Ritz-Craft production facility that went dark seven years ago amid the housing downturn will come back on line during the next few months, company officials announced Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Selinsgrove man dies when tractor flips in Chapman Township

    PORT TREVORTON — A 57-year-old Selinsgrove man died Tuesday evening when the farm tractor he was driving overturned and pinned him beneath it, according to Snyder County Coroner Bruce Hummel.

    July 29, 2014

  • VanKirk 'Real hero' of World War II dies

    ATLANTA, Ga. — Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died Monday of natural causes in the retirement home where he lived in Georgia. He was 93.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

The Daily Marquee
Video
Parade
Magazine

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.