The case against a woman convicted of drug trafficking was overturned when a Pennsylvania Superior Court judge ruled that the eight pounds of methamphetamine found in her vehicle by a state trooper can't be used against her, PennLive reports.
Trooper Jordan Lantzy spotted Deanna Savino’s car legally parked on the shoulder of Routes 11/15 in Reed Township on May 28, 2018, and went to check on her, the Dauphin County DA's Office said.
Lantzy there found now-51-year-old Savino, formerly of Glassgow and Altonna, slumped over in the front seat of the vehicle.
In response to Lantzy's questioning, Savino admitted that she had taken fentanyl and that there were more drugs in the car.
After searching Savino’s car, Lantzy found a backpack that contained eight packages of methamphetamine weighing approximately one pound each and approximately 10 grams of fentanyl.
A blood sample taken from Savino tested positive for amphetamine and oxycodone.
Savino in July 2020 was sentenced to 7½ to 15 years in state prison for trafficking the significant quantity of drugs by Dauphin County Judge Scott Arthur Evans.
Evans imposed that sentence after finding Savino guilty of two counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance following a bench trial on Jan. 27, 2020.
But Savino appealed to the Superior Court saying that Evans refused to suppress the drug evidence.
And so, Judge Anne E. Lazarus determined the trooper had no reason to suspect Savino was in distress or committing a crime when he stopped to check on her that day in 2018, PennLive says.
Therefore, the drug evidence found in her vehicle cannot be used against her.
“Thus, we are constrained to hold that Trooper Lantzy’s seizure of Savino was not justified under the public servant exception," writes Savino, "and, therefore, the evidence obtained as a result of that seizure should have been suppressed at trial."
There is no case against Savino without the drug evidence, the judge ultimately found.
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