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September 2016 Archives

'Stalking horse' tips cause dismissal of drug charges

Anonymous tips are a staple of police investigations, but the tips must be authentic. In rare cases, police officers have occasionally resorted to a tactic known as a "stalking horse," in which a police officer provides a supposedly anonymous tip to a parole officer who then undertakes a search that is beyond the police officer's constitutional authority. The parole officer can then instigate the search of a parolee's home without obtaining a search warrant based on probable cause. In a pair of recent drug arrests in Lackawanna County, supposedly anonymous "stalking horse" tips provided by police officers and not by informants caused the court to dismiss all criminal charges against two defendants.

Drug suspect urinates on pants in attempt to dissolve heroin

Individuals who are facing arrest on drug charges often attempt to discard or destroy the drugs to prevent their use as evidence. In a recent and otherwise routine drug arrest in Scranton, the accused resorted to a novel means to avoid criminal charges: he urinated on himself.

Three persons await charges in possible murder case

Two men and a woman have been arrested and incarcerated in Lackawanna County Prison while they await the results of an autopsy on the body of a man that was found in the Hop Bottom Area of Susquehanna County on Monday. The autopsy cannot be completed until the conclusion of toxicology tests on the body. The three persons are currently facing aggravated assault and conspiracy charges in connection with the death, but the charges could be increased to second degree murder if the tests show that the man was strangled.

New law requires increased use of ignition interlock device

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recently signed a law that will increase the use of ignition interlock devices in sentencing drivers who are convicted of drunk driving. The bill was supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, who said that most first-time DUI offenders have driven drunk an average of 80 times before they are convicted. The legislators who sponsored the legislation say that it will reduce the number of DUIs by 30 percent.

Presence of child adds to drug charges against Scranton couple

Lackawanna County detectives recently used a controlled drug purchase to obtain access to a Scranton apartment. The police found the drugs they believed were in the apartment, but they also found something unexpected - a two-year-old child.

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