A federal appeals court on Monday upheld a Pittsburgh judge's ruling that city police didn't realize charges were still pending in a federal drug case when they destroyed evidence.
Tiona Jones, 33, of Beechview pleaded guilty in June 2011 to possessing more than 100 grams of heroin and is serving a five-year prison sentence. She retained the right to appeal U.S. District Judge Gustave Diamond's decision refusing her motion to throw out the case after police reported they had destroyed the evidence.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Diamond that there was no evidence the police knew the case was pending when they destroyed the heroin and Jones' change purse while clearing out a drug-evidence room that had a ventilation problem. If the court had overturned Diamond, Jones could have withdrawn her guilty plea.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.