Judges Opinions Public Notices, — February 9, 2022 14:18 — 0 Comments

Public Notices, February 9, 2022

Volume 59, No. 28

 

PUBLIC NOTICES

DECEDENTS’ ESTATES

AUDITOR’S HEARING NOTICE

FICTITIOUS NAME

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Carlos Rodriguez Torres

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Letters Testamentary or of Administration have been granted in the following estates. All persons indebted to the said estate are required to make payment, and those having claims or demands to present the same without delay to the administrators or executors named.

 

FIRST PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF HOWARD CALVIN RESSLER a/k/a HOWARD C. RESSLER, late of 1635 N. 8th Ave., Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Kevin S. Kleinfelter, Executor

 

Kevin M. Dugan, Esquire

Feather and Feather, P.C.

22 West Main Street

Annville, PA 17003

ATTORNEY

 

ESTATE OF ANTHONY J. MILLER, late of South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Anthony J. Miller, Executor

48 Wheatland Cir

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

Michael S. Bechtold, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF BETTY J. SATTAZAHN, late of Annville Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Michele Morris, Executrix

10512 Mountain Rd

Grantville, PA 17028

 

Scott L Grenoble, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

P.O. Box 49

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF RICHARD A. DONMOYER, JR. a/k/a RIDHARD A. DONMOYER, late of Heidelberg Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Mary K. Donmoyer, Executrix

711 Oak St.

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

Jason Schibinger, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF MARIANNE L. GERNERT, late of Cornwall Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Michael A. Good, Executor

595 Sterling Drive

Red Lion, PA 17356

 

Peggy M. Morcom, Esquire

Morcom Law, LLC

226 W. Chocolate Ave.

Hershey, PA 17033

 

ESTATE OF DAVID B. GERNERT, late of Cornwall Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Michael A. Good, Executor

595 Sterling Drive

Red Lion, PA 17356

 

Peggy M. Morcom, Esquire

Morcom Law, LLC

226 W. Chocolate Ave.

Hershey, PA 17033

 

ESTATE OF HELEN CHAMBERS, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Brenda F. Chambers, Executrix

240 N. Lincoln St.

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

Peggy M. Morcom, Esquire

Morcom Law, LLC

226 W Chocolate Ave

Hershey, PA 17033

 

ESTATE OF RICHARD L. BORDNER, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Ann Smith, Executrix

 

George E. Christianson, Esquire

Christianson Meyer

411 Chestnut Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF MARIAN L. BERGER, late of Myerstown Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Danielle M. Weaver, Executrix

400 South College Street, Apt. 2

Myerstown, PA 17046

 

Kenneth C. Sandoe, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe, Attorneys

36 West Main Avenue

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

ESTATE OF ANNA M. BAESHORE a/k/a ANNA MAE BAESHORE, late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Charles A. Heim, Executor

 

Anthony J. Fitzgibbons, Esquire

279 North Zinn’s Mill Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

717-279-8313

 

ESTATE OF CAROLYN M. HAUCK, late of Myerstown Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

 

Dawn M. Neider, Co-Executor

10 Preston Road

Reinholds, PA 17569

 

Trina L. Brugger, Co-Executor

218 Fausnacht Drive

Denver, PA 17517

 

Kenneth C. Sandoe, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe, Attorneys

36 West Main Avenue

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

ESTATE OF FLORENCE L. EMBREY, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

 

John R. Embrey, Co-Executor

 

Julia M. Wagner, Co-Executor

 

Reilly Wolfson Law Office

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF KATHARINE E. ELY, late of Cornwall Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Timothy D. Sheffey, Executor

 

Reilly Wolfson Law Office

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF JOE L. MAY, late of Jonestown Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executors.

 

Melodie E. Favinger, Executor

169 Werner Road

Fredericksburg, PA 17026

 

Joe L. May, Jr., Executor

189 Cemetary Road

Jonestown, PA 17038

 

John D. Enck, Esquire

Spitler, Kilgore & Enck, PC

522 South 8th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

Attorney

 

SECOND PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF ARLENE M. DARE, late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Bradford R. Grauel, Executor

126 W. Summit St.

Mohnton, PA 19540

 

ESTATE OF DAVID E. BOWMAN, late of North Annville Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Chelsea Bowman, Executor

314 Cocoa Avenue

Hershey, PA 17033

 

Patrick M. Reb, Esquire

547 South 10th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF MILDRED C. EARLY, late of North Annville Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Luther P. Early, Executor

351 Kauffman Road

Annville, PA 17003

 

Patrick M. Reb, Esquire

547 South 10th Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF HARVEY EDWIN STAMM a/k/a HARVEY E. STAMM, late of North Annville Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Debra J. Bucher, Executrix

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF BETTY A. BEAR, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased October 16, 2021. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator.

 

Diane F. Engle, Administrator

 

James M. Zugay, Esquire

1253 Stonegate Road

Hummelstown, PA 17036

 

ESTATE OF JUNE H. GRIMES, late of North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased November 28, 2021. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix on January 7, 2022.

 

Lori G. Roehl, Executrix

Seattle, Washington

 

Jacqueline A. Kelly, Esquire

JSDC Law Offices

11 E. Chocolate Avenue, Suite 300

Hershey, PA 17033

717-533-3280

 

ESTATE OF DARREN L. GERNERT, late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Carol Ulrich, Executrix

 

George E. Christianson, Esquire

Christianson Meyer

411 Chestnut Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF FRANCIS J. DIXON, late of Cornwall Borough Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

 

Thomas A. Dixon, Co-Executor

1005 Alden Way

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

Joann Dixon White, Co-Executor

190 Monacacy Lane

Westfield, PA 16950

 

Scott Grenoble, Esquire

Buzgon Davis Law Offices

525 South Eighth Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF MICHELE R. MILLER, late of Bethel Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

 

Courtney K. Rosario, Administratrix

 

Reilly Wolfson Law Office

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF ANNA M. KAPP a/k/a ANNA MARY KAPP, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Theodore J. Kapp, Executor

219 East Guilford Street

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

Kenneth C. Sandoe, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe

36 West Main Avenue

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

ESTATE OF MICHAEL J. ANNIBALI, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

 

Georgianne E. Annibali, Administratrix

193 East Market Street

Palmyra, PA 17078

 

Joseph M. Farrell

201/203 South Railroad Street

P.O. Box 113

Palmyra, PA 17078

ATTORNEY FOR THE ESTATE

 

ESTATE OF RUTH H. PEIFFER, late of Richland Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Jane L. Gruber, Executrix

2 Little Swatara Church Road

Richland, PA 17087

 

Kenneth C. Sandoe, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe

36 West Main Avenue

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

ESTATE OF EDWARD S. RHEN a/k/a EDWARD STERLING RHEN, late of South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

 

Andrew D. Rhen and Julie E. Mask, Co-Executors

 

Reilly Wolfson Law Office

1601 Cornwall Road

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

THIRD PUBLICATION

 

ESTATE OF TERRENCE RICHARD MAUS, a/k/a TERRENCE R. MAUS, late of North Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

 

Annette M. Donley, Administratrix

 

Charles A. Ritchie, Jr., Esquire

Feather and Feather, P.C.

22 West Main Street

Annville, PA 17003

ATTORNEY

 

ESTATE OF AIJA MAUS, late of North Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administratrix.

 

Annette M. Donley, Administratrix

 

Charles A. Ritchie, Jr., Esquire

Feather and Feather, P.C.

22 West Main Street

Annville, PA 17003

ATTORNEY

 

ESTATE OF CAROLE A. BARNETT, late of North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Michael A. Barnett, Executor

 

Megan C. Huff, Esquire

Nestico Druby, P.C.

1135 East Chocolate Avenue, Suite 300

Hershey, PA 17033

 

ESTATE OF MELVIN L. BUNNELL, late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Susan Mercer, Executrix

 

George E. Christianson, Esquire

Christianson Meyer

411 Chestnut Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF RICHARD E. DEVINE, late of Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Angela Ashley, Executrix

 

George E. Christianson, Esquire

Christianson Meyer

411 Chestnut Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

 

ESTATE OF E. JERE SNAVELY, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Kim L. Weidman, Executrix

 

Samuel G. Weiss, Jr, Esquire

Weiss Burkett, LLC

802 Walnut Street

Lebanon, PA 17042

Attorney

 

ESTATE OF JODY L. POSEY, a/k/a JODY L. HOWARD, late of Palmyra Borough, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrator C.T.A.

 

Katie J. Hetrick, Administrator C.T.A.

 

Gerald J. Brinser, Esquire

  1. O. Box 323

Palmyra, PA 17078

Attorney

 

ESTATE OF EDWIN C. HOSTETTER a/k/a EDWIN CHRISTIAN HOSTETTER, late of North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Edwin C. Hostetter, II, Executor

 

Gerald J. Brinser, Esquire

  1. O. Box 323

Palmyra, PA 17078

Attorney

 

ESTATE OF ARTHUR MATZ AND JODY LYNN MATZ a/k/a JODY L. MATZ, late of North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executors.

 

Jason and Jennifer Martin, Co-Executors

270 Greenville Road

Denver, PA 17517

 

Kenneth C. Sandoe, Esquire

Steiner & Sandoe, Attorneys

36 West Main Avenue,

Myerstown, PA 17067

 

ESTATE OF VALERIA D. HOUGH, late of North Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executor.

 

Walter F. Knight, III, Executor

 

Gerald J. Brinser, Esquire

  1. O. Box 323

Palmyra, PA 17078

Attorney

 

ESTATE OF BARBARA L. BRENT, late of South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Executrix.

 

Debra J. Gates, Executrix

 

Kevin M. Richards, Esquire

P.O. Box 1140

Lebanon, PA 17042-1140

 

ESTATE OF SHIRLEY MAE ZERBE, late of the City of Lebanon, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters of Administration have been granted to the undersigned Administrators.

 

Jalessa A. Nash, Administratrix

314 S. 31st Street

Harrisburg, PA 17109

 

Pablo F. Molina, Administrator

242 Lehman Street

Lebanon, PA 17046

 

Peggy M. Morcom, Esquire

Morcom Law, LLC

226 W Chocolate Ave

Hershey, PA 17033

 

ESTATE OF CLARENCE WILLIAM HITZ, SR., a/k/a CLARENCE W. HITZ, SR., late of North Annville Township, Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, deceased. Letters Testamentary have been granted to the undersigned Co-Executrices.

 

Wanda S. Livering, Co-Executrix

 

Peggy A. Zechman, Co-Executrix

 

Charles A. Ritchie, Jr., Esquire

Feather and Feather, P.C.

22 West Main Street

Annville, PA 17003

ATTORNEY

 

AUDITOR’S HEARING NOTICE

 

NOTICE is hereby given that the Auditor’s Hearing In re: Estate of Lorna K. Brooks will be held on Friday, February 25, 2022, at 1:30 o’clock p.m., in Room 312 of the Lebanon County Court House, 400 South Eighth Street, Lebanon, PA 17042.

 

Charles A. Ritchie, Jr., Esquire

Feather and Feather, P.C.

22 West Main Street

Annville, PA 17003

AUDITOR

 

FICTITIOUS NAME

 

Notice is hereby given that Vanassa Sypher, in compliance with PA Fictitious Names Act, applied for the registration of Fictitious Name, Msweet Studio, Principal Office: 56 Lincoln School Road, Jonestown, PA 17038. Party: Vanassa Sypher, 56 Lincoln School Road, Jonestown, PA 17038.

 

Vanassa Sypher

56 Lincoln School Road

Jonestown, PA 17038

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, pursuant to the provisions of the Fictitious Name Act, 54 Pa. C.S.A. Sec. 311 of Act 1982-295, and its amendments and supplements, that Tri-Valley Contractors, Inc. of Myerstown, Pennsylvania, has filed an Application for registration of the fictitious name of TVC Tile, which shall have its principal place of business at 486 Houtztown Road, Myerstown, Pennsylvania

 

JOHN M. ZIMMERMAN, ESQUIRE

ZIMMERMAN LAW OFFICE

466 Jonestown Road

Jonestown, PA 17038

 

Andrew J. Zeiset of 129 Johnson Lane, Fredericksburg, PA and Timothy L. Zeiset of 746 Lehman Street, Lebanon, PA wish to make it known to the public that we are parties to an application for registration of a fictitious name, “Hillside Seamless Rain Solutions,” which is intended to be a DBA of “Hillside Exteriors LLC.” An application has been filed under the Fictitious Names Act. The principal office of the business to be carried on under the fictitious name is intended to be in Lebanon county at 129 Johnson Lane, Fredericksburg, PA 17026.

 

 

Notice is hereby given that an Application for Registration of Fictitious Name was filed in the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on December 09, 2021 for Swatara drywall and painting services at 23 Broad St. Jonestown, PA 17038. The name and address of each individual interested in the business is Matthew Guzman at 23 Broad St. Jonestown, PA 17038. This was filed in accordance with 54 PaC.S. 311.417

 

Penncorp Servicegroup, Inc.

600 North Second Street

Harrisburg, PA 17101

(717) 234-2300 Ext. 4

 

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Articles of Incorporation has been filed with the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, PA on December 21, 2021, for Keep It Reel, Inc., for the purpose of obtaining an Articles of Incorporation pursuant to the provisions of the Pennsylvania Business Corporation Law of 1988.

 

 

 

 

JUDGE’S OPINION

 

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Carlos Rodriguez Torres

 

Criminal Action-Law-Delivery of Controlled Substances-Pretrial Motion-Suppression of Evidence-Vehicle Stop-Consent to Search-Voluntariness of Consent-Erroneous Information Provided by Law Enforcement-Intent of Law Enforcement

 

Carlos Rodriguez Torres (“Defendant”) was charged with felony drug offenses following a vehicle stop during which he consented to the search of the vehicle he was operating in which 805 grams of cocaine was located.  Defendant filed an Omnibus Pretrial Motion seeking suppression of evidence obtained during the search on the basis that consent for the vehicle search was not voluntary, as Defendant had been told by law enforcement that he would be able to drive away from the incident in his vehicle regardless of whether contraband was found during the search of the vehicle.

 

  1. Any person who affords consent to search to law enforcement waives his or her Constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.

 

  1. When the underlying encounter between the person and police is found to be lawful, voluntariness becomes the exclusive focus to determine valid consent.

 

  1. Voluntariness of consent is a question of fact to be determined based upon the totality of the circumstances including the presence or absence of police excesses, police demeanor and manner of expression, the location of the interaction, the content of the questions and statements, the existence and character of the initial investigative detention including the degree of coerciveness and whether the suspect has been told that he or she is free to leave and the suspect has been informed that he or she is not required to consent.

 

  1. Misrepresentations by a police officer that are material to a suspect’s consent, either intentional or inadvertent, can invalidate otherwise voluntary consent.

 

  1. The Commonwealth failed to establish the voluntariness of Defendant’s consent to the search of his vehicle where Defendant incorrectly was advised by law enforcement that he would be able to drive away from the incident in his vehicle whether or not contraband was located if he consented to the search of his vehicle and the incorrect information was relied upon by Defendant in consenting to the search.

 

L.C.C.C.P. No. CP-38-CR-0000146-2021, Opinion by Bradford H. Charles, Judge, July 28, 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS LEBANON COUNTY

PENNSYLVANIA

 

CRIMINAL DIVISION

 

 

COMMONWEALTH OF                    : 

PENNSYLVANIA                              :                                                                                                                           :        NO. CP-38-CR-146-2021

  1. :       

                                                          :

CARLOS RODRIGUEZ TORRES    :

:

ORDER OF COURT

 

 

AND NOW, this 28th day of July, 2021, upon consideration of the Defendant’s Motion to Suppress, and in accordance with the attached Opinion, the Defendant’s Motion is GRANTED.  All evidence procured by the Pennsylvania State Police as a result of the consent offered by the Defendant will be suppressed.

The Defendant is directed to appear for the Criminal Call of the list scheduled for October 5, 2021.  He is also directed to appear at the first day of Criminal Trials scheduled to commence on October 25, 2021.

 

 

 

 

BY THE COURT:

 

__________________________J.

BRADFORD H. CHARLES

 

BHC/pmd

cc:     Court Administration (order only)

District Attorney

Nino V. Tinari, Esquire// 1528 Walnut Street, Suite 1212, Philadelphia PA  19102

 

 

IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS LEBANON COUNTY

PENNSYLVANIA

 

CRIMINAL DIVISION

 

 

COMMONWEALTH OF                    : 

PENNSYLVANIA                              :                                                                                                                           :        NO. CP-38-CR-146-2021

  1. :       

                                                          :

CARLOS RODRIGUEZ TORRES    :

:

APPEARANCES

 

Nichole Eisenhart, Esquire           For Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

DISTRICT ATTORNEY

 

Nino V. Tinari, Esquire                    For Carlos Rodriguez Torres

OPINION BY CHARLES, J., July 28, 2021

 

Consent procured by police misrepresentation – either intentional or unintentional – is not voluntary.  In this case, police wrongfully told a defendant that if he consented “They will let you go. Whether they find something or don’t find anything, you will drive away from there.”  Because this statement – and others – were not accurate portrayals of the situation facing the Defendant, we hold that the consent he provided was not voluntary.  Therefore, we will grant the Defendant’s Motion for Suppression.

 

 

 

 

  1. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On January 12, 2021, Corporal Gerald Lydon of the Pennsylvania State Police stopped a red 2010 Toyota Camry because the vehicle’s registration was not visible and because the officer could not peer inside due to heavy window tint.  The vehicle had a Texas registration.

Upon approaching the vehicle following the stop, Corporal Lydon identified the Defendant as the driver.  In his Affidavit of Probable Cause, Corporal Lydon wrote: “Throughout the course of the stop I observed multiple indicators of criminal activity.  Based on this I requested consent from the Defendant to search the subject vehicle.  I obtained verbal and written consent to search the vehicle.”  As a result of the consent search, Corporal Lydon located 805 grams of cocaine.  The Defendant was immediately arrested and incarcerated in lieu of $36,000.00 bail.

The Defendant was arraigned on felony drug offenses on February 17, 2021.  Thereafter, he filed a timely Pre-Trial Motion to Suppress.  While not nearly as clear as we would have preferred, the Motion to Suppress did include the following paragraph: “16. Any consent exception relied upon by the police here is invalid as it was not voluntary.”

A Suppression Hearing was conducted by this Court on July 14, 2021.  As is our custom, we asked defense counsel to identify the issues upon which he was relying prior to commencing the hearing.  The defense counsel mentioned two: (1) That the initial traffic stop was not valid; and (2) That the time that Corporal Lydon waited along the side of the road for a K-9 Unit to arrive was unreasonable.  The Pre-Trial Hearing was commenced based upon those issues.  Later, however, the consent to search provided by the Defendant also became an issue.

During the Pre-Trial Hearing, Corporal Lydon testified that the Defendant was the operator and sole occupant of the Toyota vehicle.  Corporal Lydon stated that the Defendant could not provide a valid registration or insurance information for the vehicle.  When Corporal Lydon ran the Texas license plate in his computer system, he learned that the vehicle was registered to Maria Soto of Lebanon.  The VIN of the vehicle was also investigated.  It related to a separate female who resided in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Neither female was present in the vehicle and neither could be contacted by the Defendant.

When Corporal Lydon confronted the Defendant with the registration information outlined above, he stated that he had “just purchased” the vehicle in Lebanon.  However, he could produce no purchase documents.  As Corporal Lydon summarized, “There was absolutely nothing that tied the Defendant to this vehicle.”

Corporal Lydon asked for consent to search the Toyota vehicle.  The Defendant initially refused.  Corporal Lydon called a K-9 Officer.  Thirty-five (35) minutes later, the K-9 Unit arrived.  The K-9 alerted on the vehicle.  Following this alert, Corporal Lydon spoke to the Defendant again about consent.  To insure that the Defendant understood everything, Corporal Lydon asked for the assistance of Trooper David Lebron, who was fluent in both English and Spanish.  Trooper Lebron spoke to the Defendant in Spanish via a radio located in Corporal Lydon’s vehicle.  The conversation between Trooper Lebron and the Defendant was recorded on an audio recording system in Corporal Lydon’s vehicle.

Following testimony that was presented on July 14, 2021, a copy of the audio recording of the traffic stop was provided to Richard Huber, who is Lebanon County’s AOPC certified Spanish interpreter.  Mr. Huber prepared a transcript of the conversation regarding consent in which both Trooper Lebron and Corporal Lydon participated.  That transcript is attached to this Opinion as Exhibit A.

The transcript revealed the following interaction, almost all of which occurred in the Spanish language:

  • Trooper Lebron began the conversation by telling the Defendant that the K-9 dog had alerted on his vehicle, indicating that some sort of drugs were present.
  • Trooper Lebron told the Defendant “If you don’t want to, you don’t have to give them permission. If you say no, they are going to get a tow truck, and take the car away for a couple of days.”
  • After the Defendant inquired about how he would get back to his home, Trooper Lebron told him “If you say yes, then they will let the car with you.”
  • In response to a question about what the process will be, Trooper Lebron stated: “They will take the car, if you say no to the search. Understand?  If you say yes, they are going to search to see if you have something there, if they don’t find anything, they will let you go.  If they find something, they will also let you go, but you will get more charges.  If they find something in the car, they will send you fines by mail…but they will let you go.  Whether they find something or don’t find anything, you will drive away from there.”
  • Corporal Lydon instructed Trooper Lebron to tell the Defendant that if there is only “a little bit of marijuana or something” in the vehicle, no charges would even be filed. Trooper Lebron then stated: “If they find something, they are going to give you a fine.  If you say yes that they can search for, I don’t know what they’re looking for, if you have a little bit of marijuana there, that’s fine, they’re not going to charge you for that.”  Trooper Lebron then reiterated: “If you say yes now, they won’t need to call the tow truck, you won’t need to go to the station either, they are going to let you go right there, and you’re on your way. With the car too.  But if they find something small, that’s fine, they won’t do anything, but if you have something there, well something that is not small, but something big, then you are going to get fines, and get charges.”

Following this exchange, the Defendant consented to a search.  Upon request of Corporal Lydon, he also signed a Consent to Search form.

As we advised both counsel immediately following the July 14, 2021 hearing, this Court did not perceive any problem with Corporal Lydon’s traffic stop.  In addition, we considered thirty-five (35) minutes to be a reasonable time for a K-9 Unit to arrive at the scene.  Therefore, the only issue remaining to be resolved is the issue of consent.

 

  1. DISCUSSION

Consent has long been recognized as an exception to the general rule that search and seizure can only be conducted via a Search Warrant.  Michigan v. Tyler, 436 U.S. 499 (1978).  As a very general proposition, any suspect who affords consent to search to police waives his or her Constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures.  Commonwealth v. Netting, 461 A.2d 1259 (Pa. Super. 1983).  When, as here, “the underlying encounter [between the citizen and the police] is found to be lawful, voluntariness becomes the exclusive focus [to determine a valid consent]”. Commonwealth v. Strickler, 757 A.2d 884, 888-889 (Pa. 2000).  Voluntariness is a question of fact to be determined based upon a totality of the circumstances analysis.  Commonwealth v. Fredrick, 230 A.3d 1263 (Pa. Super. 2020).  Among the factors to be considered when assessing voluntariness are the following: (1) the presence or absence of police excesses; (2) police demeanor and manner of expression; (3) the location of the interdiction; (4) the content of the questions and statements; (5) the existence and character of the initial investigative detention, including its degree of coerciveness; (6) whether the person has been told that he/she is free to leave; and (7) whether the citizen has been informed that he/she is not required to consent. Commonwealth v. Kemp, 961 A.2d 1247, 1261 (Pa. Super. 2008).

Misrepresentations by a police officer that are material to a suspect’s consent can invalidate an otherwise voluntary consent.  In the case of Commonwealth v. Slaton, 608 A.2d 5 (Pa. 1992), our Commonwealth’s highest Court had this to say about consent procured by misrepresentation:


[3]The exception asserted by the agents here is the consent exception. In Schneckloth v. Bustamonte, 412 U.S. 218, 93 S.Ct. 2041, 36 L.Ed.2d 854 (1973), the United States Supreme Court found that voluntary consent to a search was sufficient to overcome the warrant requirement. Voluntariness, the Court explained, is a question of fact to be determined from all the circumstances. Id. at 249, 93 S.Ct. at 2059. Consent must be freely and intelligently given, however, and is not voluntary if it is obtained through deception, United States v. Prudden, 424 F.2d 1021 (5th Cir.)cert. denied, 400 U.S. 831, 91 S.Ct. 62, 27 L.Ed.2d 62 (1970), as deception amounts to implied coercion, which negates the necessary element of willingness.

 

*216 Appellee argues that his consent to the December search was based upon his reliance on the agents’ prior indication that their search was directed at Merriweather. Thus, in essence, appellee has contended that the agents obtained his consent through deception by allowing him to rely on a previous assertion which was no longer correct.

The federal courts have explained the concept of deception in the context of consensual searches under the Fourth Amendment in various Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) cases. See, e.g., United States v. Rothstein, 530 F.2d 1275 (5th Cir.1976)United States v. Dawson, 486 F.2d 1326 (5th Cir.1973)United States v. Bland, 458 F.2d 1 (5th Cir.)cert. denied, 409 U.S. 843, 93 S.Ct. 43, 34 L.Ed.2d 83 (1972). In those cases, federal courts have considered whether an IRS agent’s failure to disclose to a taxpayer that the agent’s investigation may result in criminal charges constitutes a misrepresentation that negates consent given in a particular case. United States v. Ponder, 444 F.2d 816 (5th Cir.1971)cert. denied, 405 U.S. 918, 92 S.Ct. 944, 30 L.Ed.2d 788 (1972)United States v. Tonahill, 430 F.2d 1042 (5th Cir.)cert. denied, 400 U.S. 943, 91 S.Ct. 242, 27 L.Ed.2d 247 (1970)United States v. Prudden, supra. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit established the following standard:

The mere failure of a revenue agent (be he regular or special) to warn the taxpayer that the investigation may result in criminal charges, absent any acts by the agent which materially misrepresent the nature of the inquiry, do not constitute fraud, deceit, and trickery. Therefore, the record here must disclose some affirmative misrepresentation to establish the existence of fraud….6

 

*217 Prudden, 424 F.2d at 1033; see also, United States v. Tweel, 550 F.2d 297, 299 (5th Cir.1977) (quoting Prudden).

 

Application of this standard to this case yields the inevitable conclusion that the **10 narcotics agents did obtain appellee’s consent through deception. As previously stated, until the first search was completed, the agents’ investigation was focused upon Merriweather, as the agents truthfully disclosed. As a result of this search, however, the focus of the agents’ investigation changed, and the agents returned to Slaton’s pharmacy with the belief that Slaton’s conduct was improper. Notwithstanding this new focus, the agents obtained entry to the premises without any additional disclosure of purpose. One can only conclude that in consenting to the search, Slaton relied on the agents’ earlier representations. By permitting him to continue this reliance, the agents obtained appellee’s consent through deception. Such acts amount to implied coercion. Appellee’s consent, therefore, was constitutionally invalid, and the search was illegal.

 

Because the search was constitutionally invalid, suppression of the evidence is the appropriate remedy. Commonwealth v. Edmunds, 526 Pa. 374, 395-96, 586 A.2d 887, 897 (1991).

Id at page 9-10.

In this case, the Defendant was stopped along an Interstate highway at an area that was not close to his home.  He expressed concern about how he would be able to obtain transportation back to his home.  The Defendant was clearly told that if he consented to a search, he would be permitted to drive away in the Toyota vehicle.  While he was told that charges could be filed depending upon what was found in the vehicle, he was advised on several occasions that he would be permitted to leave with the Toyota vehicle so long as he consented to a search.

As is obvious because of what occurred following the interaction, the information that was provided to the Defendant was inaccurate.  When the police conducted a search and found cocaine, the Defendant was not permitted to drive away in the Toyota.  He was arrested.  He was preliminarily arraigned.  When he could not post bail, he was thrown in jail.  All of this was in direct contravention to the promises that were made by police.

It is unclear to us whether the misrepresentations by police were intentional or inadvertent.  As we read the transcript, it became clear that there was miscommunication between Corporal Lydon and Trooper Lebron regarding the extent to which Corporal Lydon would be willing to afford leniency to the Defendant if he consented.  Some of what Trooper Lebron said to the Defendant in Spanish may not have comported precisely with Corporal Lydon’s intent, but neither officer may have known this because Corporal Lydon did not speak or understand Spanish.  Regardless, the information that was communicated to the Defendant was wrong.  And the Defendant relied upon that incorrect information in affording consent.  Under these circumstances, we cannot and will not declare the consent to be voluntary.

We are not prepared today to ascribe wrongful intent to either Corporal Lydon or Trooper Lebron.  We are willing to afford both officers with the benefit of the proverbial doubt by proclaiming that what occurred on the side of I-78 was largely the result of miscommunication and/or misperceptions exacerbated by use of two different languages.[1]  Regardless of why bad information was conveyed, it certainly was.  And the nature of the recorded conversation makes clear that the inaccurate information was material to the Defendant’s decision to consent.  In the opinion of this Court, the resulting consent cannot be deemed voluntary.  Therefore, the Defendant’s Motion to Suppress will be granted.

EXHIBIT A

Transcript of vehicle stop – CR-146-2021

English-speaking Trooper: Trooper Lydon

Spanish-speaking Trooper (by phone): Trooper Lebron

Defendant: Carlos Luis Rodriguez-Torres

 

Time stamp (approx.) Speaker Dialogue Language spoken
0:13 Tpr. Lydon Basically, what I want to get through to him is that we have two options here. Okay I’m asking for his permission to search the car. Alright the dog alerted. *Music plays off phone* Can you turn that off for me please? The dog alerted to his car. So the process we do now is if he doesn’t want to give consent which he doesn’t have to, we’re going to be towing the car back to Jonestown and applying for a search warrant. Okay so if you just want to explain that to him really quick. Hold on one second, I think I turned you down a little bit here. [English]
  [other trooper.] Put him on speaker [English]
  Tpr. Lydon Nah, there we go. We’re good. [English]
  Tpr. Lebron Are we ready? [English]
  Tpr. Lydon Yep. [English]
  Tpr. Lebron Sir, what they are telling me is that the dogs that they called, are saying that you have something in the car. [start of Spanish dialogue]
1:00

(1 min.)

Defendant Ok
Tpr. Lebron That the car has, like, some drugs or something. They are asking you now whether you will give them permission to search the car.
  Defendant Ok  
  Tpr. Lebron If you don’t want to, you don’t have to give them permission. If you say no, they are going to get the tow truck, and take the car away for a couple days.  
  Defendant But, so how would this work, because right now I’m an hour and a half away from my house.  
  Tpr. Lebron That is your decision sir.  
  Defendant But if they take the car, how would I get home?  
  Tpr. Lebron If you say no to the search of the car, they are going to take it away. You understand?  
2:00 Defendant Yes but the thing is…  
  Tpr. Lebron If you say yes, then they will let the car with you.  
  Defendant Yes, but right now I don’t know what the dog is smelling. I’ve only had the car for a two days, I bought it on Sunday, and I drove it today, so I don’t know what is happening, this is the first time that this has happened to me.  
  Tpr. Lebron Well sir I’m not there, I don’t know what is going on.  
  Defendant The thing is that once my brother had a bad experience with this in Puerto Rico, in a situation like this, so that’s why I don’t like the police…  
  Tpr. Lebron This isn’t Puerto Rico.  
  Defendant So if they take the car away, what would happen, because I really don’t know…  
  Tpr. Lebron I don’t know.  
  Defendant Well so maybe the officer can tell me how this works, because right now I am on foot, I don’t know what the process is.  
3:00 Tpr. Lebron They will take the car, if you say no to the search. Understand?  If you say yes, they are going to search to see if you have something there, if they don’t find anything, they will let you go.  If they find something, they will also let you go, but you will get more charges. If they find something in the car, they will send you fines by mail.  
  Defendant Oh ok.  
  Tpr. Lebron But they will let you go. Whether they find something or don’t find anything, you will drive away from there.  
  Defendant But if they take the car, then how would they proceed?  
  Tpr. Lebron They are going to sign some papers, then they would go to a judge, and the judge will say yes, you can search the car.  
4:00 Defendant OK, ok  
  Tpr. Lebron If they don’t find anything, they will give you back the car, but you would have to pay the tow truck too. Understand?  
  Defendant OK, ok  
  Tpr. Lydon Trooper advise him that if there is like a little bit of marijuana or something in there I’m not worried about that, ok, but if I do end up getting a search warrant he’s going to be charged for that, ok? At this point. [English]
  Tpr. Lebron So if it’s just a small amount, he’s, he’s not …. [English]
  Tpr. Lydon Well tell him, yeah, I’m not going to take him forthwith then, we’ll figure something out outside of that, whether it be he cooperates or I file on him or something.  But if we end up going for the search warrant, he’s going to be brought back to the barracks with us, and, you know, he’s going to wait there while I execute the search warrant, and whatever we end up finding at that point he’s going to be accountable for ok? [English]
  Tpr. Lebron OK. Sir? [Spanish]
  Defendant Uh-huh [Spanish]
5:00 Tpr. Lebron What he said is, if you say no, ok, you would go to their station, with them, they’ll take you to the office, and you will wait there while they do the paperwork with the judge.  And then, if they find something, they are going to give you a fine. If you say yes, that they can search for, I don’t know what they’re looking for, if you have a little bit of marijuana there, that’s fine, they’re not going to charge you for that. [Spanish]
  Defendant No, no, I don’t smoke marijuana. But I don’t know if…. [Spanish]
  Tpr. Lydon No cocaine? [English]
  Defendant No [English]
  Tpr. Lydon No heroin? [English]
  Defendant No [English]
  Tpr. Lydon No methamphetamine? [English]
  Defendant No, no, me no have any problem for the police in my life. [English]
  Tpr. Lydon OK. I got you. I understand. [English]
6:00 Defendant Explain to him, the trooper, that I had a bad experience once, for this reason, and that’s why I’m scared, I don’t know how the process works here, because it is the first time that it has happened to me. [Spanish]
  Tpr. Lebron What he is saying is, what’s going to happen is if you say no, they’re going to take the car, and then you will go to the station too. And then you will wait there, until they get the papers that they need to search the car.  If you say yes now, they won’t need to call the tow truck, you won’t need to go to the station either, they’re going to let you go right there, and you’re on your way. With the car too.  But if they find something small, that’s fine, they won’t do anything, but if you have something there, well, that is not something small, but something big, then you are going to get fines, and get charges. [Spanish]
7:00 Defendant Ok, ok, yes, I understand. [Spanish]
  Tpr. Lebron So what is your decision.  Can they search? Or not. [Spanish]
  Defendant It’s ok, go ahead, no problem. [Spanish]
  Tpr. Lebron No problem.  They can search the car? [Spanish]
  Defendant Yes, they can check it out, no problem. [Spanish]
  Tpr. Lydon Ok let him know….he’s saying we’re good to search it? [English]
  Tpr. Lebron Yes, he saying you guys can [unintelligible] [English]
  Tpr. Lydon Let him know I’m going to have him sign a consent form, that’s going to be provided to him in Spanish, ok?  So he can read over everything. [English]
  Tpr. Lebron Oh, ok. Not a problem [English]
  Defendant Yes? [Spanish]
  Tpr. Lebron Sir, they are going to give you some documents, the documents will be in Spanish, [Spanish]
  Tpr. Lydon [to the other trooper] He’s going to give us consent. [English]
  Tpr. Lebron And then you sign the form, ok? [Spanish]
  Defendant Ok [Spanish]
  Tpr. Lydon He’s giving us consent now I’m just going to have him sign the Spanish form. [English]
  Tpr. Lydon OK? [English]
  Defendant OK [English]
  Tpr. Lydon Trooper, thank you very much brother, I appreciate it [English]
7:45 Tpr. Lebron No problem. Bye-bye. [English]
* END OF VIDEO *

 

 

 

[1] While we wish to afford Corporal Lydon and Trooper Lebron with every benefit of the doubt regarding their intentions, we do have serious concerns about any statement made by police that the Defendant would be permitted to drive the Toyota vehicle away from the scene of the stop.  As stated by Corporal Lydon, “There was nothing to tie the Defendant to this particular vehicle.”  The vehicle was not registered to the Defendant, there was conflicting registration information on the State Police computer system, and no evidence existed that the vehicle was insured.  Under these circumstances, we find it hard to believe that police would have allowed the Defendant to simply drive away in a vehicle that was uninsured and that he did not apparently own or lawfully possess.  At the very least, an officer’s decision to allow a person like the Defendant to drive a vehicle like the Toyota vehicle away from a traffic stop could be viewed as imprudent.

 

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