Thursday, January 27, 2011

Defense says Police Burned W. Pa. Drug Evidence

(AP) - A federal public defender wants drug charges thrown out against a Pittsburgh woman, claiming local authorities mistakenly burned more than 14,000 stamp bags of heroin in evidence.

Senior U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond gave public defender Marketa Sims two weeks to file motions on behalf of 31-year-old Tiona Jones after a hearing Tuesday.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says the case turns on whether city detectives saw the drugs bulging out of Jones’ purse during a May 2008 traffic stop or whether police found the drugs in Jones’ closed purse during a search Sims claims was illegal.

Sims says the drugs were destroyed because city police and Allegheny County prosecutors mistakenly believed the case had been closed when, in fact, it had simply been taken over by federal prosecutors.

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