Thursday, May 28, 2020
Thursday, May 28, 2020

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Top court: Police illegally seized truck in hit-and-run case

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ruled that authorities did not have the right to seize a vehicle from the driveway of a hit-and-run suspect without a warrant.

The ruling issued Wednesday stems from the August 2012 seizure of a heavy-duty pickup truck owned by Daniel Loughnane.

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The 45-year-old Hanover Township man was charged with felony hit-and-run in the death of 19-year-old Rebecca McCallick, who authorities have said was under the influence of marijuana and lying in the street when she was struck in July 2012.

The truck seizure dispute is one of several legal battles that have been fought over the case, which has not yet gone to trial.

A county judge ruled in 2014 that the seizure was illegal because no exigent circumstances existed to justify the warrantless seizure.

However, a three-judge state Superior Court panel overturned that ruling in November 2015, finding Loughnane didn’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy in his driveway, which was visible from the street.

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The panel held that the mere mobility of the vehicle created exigent circumstances permitting the warrantless seizure.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court noted that a number of federal appellate courts have determined that a federal automobile exception — which permits the warrantless search of a vehicle if police have probable cause that it contains evidence of a crime — doesn’t apply to vehicles parked in a defendant’s residential driveway.

“Absent exigent circumstances, the concern about the inherent mobility of the vehicle does not apply, as the chance to search and/or seize the vehicle is not fleeting,” the justices wrote. “The vehicle is parked where the defendant lives and it will typically either remain there or inevitably return to that location.”

Loughnane’s attorney, Peter Paul Olszewski Jr., told The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens’ Voice that the decision was a “huge victory” for his client and all state residents.

“It has a huge impact statewide now for anybody, for all citizens of this commonwealth who have a vehicle parked in their driveway that’s wanted by law enforcement. Those vehicles are now subject to greater protection,” Olszewski said.

Prosecutors did not respond to a request for comment.

Latest Posts

Connecticut Killer Peter Manfredonia CAPTURED in Maryland Following Massive 4-State Manhunt

The Connecticut killer was captured by Hagerstown Police Department after it was told he was headed there in an Uber.

Connecticut Killer Peter Manfredonia Squatting? Home Vandalized by NY Border: ‘You Better Run’

Crazed Connecticut killer might've left additional clues on the wall of a second home in the midst of a massive multi-state manhunt.

UCONN Killer Peter Manfredonia Takes SECOND Uber from Pennsylvania journeying to Maryland

Police in four states are stunned after finding out Connecticut killer Peter Manfredonia has been using Uber on his deadly journey.

JUST IN: Connecticut Killer Peter Manfredonia Caught on Camera Purchasing Stuff from Sheetz

CONNECTICUT killer Peter Manfredonia stopped at Sheetz in Pennsylvania to purchase items before his journey to Maryland Wednesday.

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Connecticut Killer Peter Manfredonia CAPTURED in Maryland Following Massive 4-State Manhunt

The Connecticut killer was captured by Hagerstown Police Department after it was told he was headed there in an Uber.

Connecticut Killer Peter Manfredonia Squatting? Home Vandalized by NY Border: ‘You Better Run’

Crazed Connecticut killer might've left additional clues on the wall of a second home in the midst of a massive multi-state manhunt.

UCONN Killer Peter Manfredonia Takes SECOND Uber from Pennsylvania journeying to Maryland

Police in four states are stunned after finding out Connecticut killer Peter Manfredonia has been using Uber on his deadly journey.

JUST IN: Connecticut Killer Peter Manfredonia Caught on Camera Purchasing Stuff from Sheetz

CONNECTICUT killer Peter Manfredonia stopped at Sheetz in Pennsylvania to purchase items before his journey to Maryland Wednesday.

GREEN LIGHT! Gov. Wolf Reveals Green Phase Order, Guidance on Dining and Professional Sports

Furthering his plan for reopening Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf today announced an order to elaborate on the reopening process.