December 6, 2021


Beyond law

Demo begins for Harrisburg district decide accused of interfering with police investigation

HARRISBURG – Was she a district judge who used her place to interfere with an investigation and intimidate police officers, or was she a anxious mother who only retrieved her son’s medication through his arrest soon after she was informed it was Ok to do so?

That will quickly be up to a jury to come to a decision.

Trial begun Monday in Dauphin County Court docket for Magisterial District Decide Sonya McKnight, who is struggling with costs of formal oppression, tampering with proof and obstruction of legislation in relationship with a site visitors stop involving her son, Kevin Baltimore, on Feb. 22, 2020, in Harrisburg.

In her opening statements, prosecutor Kristyne Crist of the Pennsylvania Lawyer General’s Business office told the jury that three terms will be repeating by way of trial – interference, intimidation and affect.

When Baltimore was stopped by the police on an excellent warrant in the center of the evening, she mentioned Baltimore identified as his mom.

“But his mother isn’t just any mother,” Crist claimed “She’s in a placement of electric power and authority.”

As a district decide, Harrisburg law enforcement officers typically come in advance of her for their circumstances, Crist said, arguing that McKnight applied that situation to intimidate the police officers when she got to the scene.

The investigating officers had found a pill bottle in Baltimore’s automobile, but prior to they were ready to investigate it, McKnight removed the bottle and took it with her when she left the scene, Crist instructed the jury.

But McKnight’s attorney, Brian McMonagle, explained to jurors that is not what took place. McKnight was there acting as a mother, not a choose, and the evidence will present she did practically nothing erroneous.

He stated McKnight became a district choose simply because she desired to give back again to her neighborhood, and when she was elected, “that was her desire,” he stated.

However that aspiration had turn out to be a actuality, “you’re only as satisfied as your most unhappy boy or girl,” McMonagle stated, including it was on the evening of the incident that Baltimore experienced stopped at her residence, and she could inform anything was erroneous. Baltimore instructed her he had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and was specified medication, McMonagle claimed, but he also informed her that he was having difficulties with medicine.

They cried with each other, and that night all around 2 a.m., McKnight “got a get in touch with that adjusted her daily life.” Her son was on the phone, telling her he experienced been stopped by the law enforcement, and he wanted her aid.

When she received to the scene, “her coronary heart breaks,” McMonagle mentioned. “There’s her son, outside of the automobile, surrounded by police.”

McMonagle stated there were being no system cameras, but a single recorder in a motor vehicle caught what took place. He told the jury when they see the video, it will clearly show that McKnight only spoke to an officer in a tranquil way and experienced stepped aside when she was explained to to do so.

McMonagle is laying the argument that the law enforcement advised her she could get her son’s auto. They had been done searching it when she approached it and took the capsule bottle, which contained Baltimore’s blood-force medicine, McMonagle explained.

McKnight took the tablet bottle back again to her individual motor vehicle, and she did not depart the scene until finally the law enforcement drove off with her son, he reported..

A number of police officers who had been at the scene are among all those outlined to testify during the three-working day trial. The very first witness is envisioned to choose the stand when the trial resumes Monday afternoon.

The trial is getting held prior to Senior Decide Stephen B. Lieberman of Berks County.

Pending the consequence of trial, McKnight has not been permitted to sit on the bench given that December. In spite of her suspension, she gained her re-election bid in the May well major.

Previously, McKnight was cleared of wrongdoing for a May well 2019 taking pictures of her estranged spouse at her home. Investigators concluded McKnight acted in self-protection when she shot him in the groin. He recovered from his wound.