DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — Dauphin County Magisterial Judge Sonya McKnight has been acquitted on all charges against her. She was accused of using her position to interfere in a traffic stop involving her son, Kevin Baltimore.
Mcknight’s case was heard by Senior Judge Stephen Lieberman of Bucks County.
Dashcam video shown in the courtroom shows Judge Sonya McKnight at the scene the night her son was under arrest during a traffic stop made by Harrisburg City Police. The incident took place in February 2020.
The video, which had no audio, shows McKnight pulling up to the scene in a white vehicle. She parks the car and then walks over to a Harrisburg City police. The two have a conversation. A few minutes later Mcknight walks over to her son’s car and gets inside the car. She then walks back to her vehicle.
McKnight was later charged with tampering with evidence, official oppression, and obstruction of law for allegedly getting into her son’s car without permission and removing a pill bottle.
McKnight’s defense attorney, Brian McMonagle, tells the abc27 Investigators that during cross-examination, the Harrisburg Police Officer involved in the stop testified that she had finished her search and released the car to Judge McKnight.
Plus, Harrisburg Police Commissioner Tom Carter testified that Judge McKnight never asked him to do anything inappropriate and that she only went to the scene as a mother at the request of her son.
Judge Lieberman then granted a motion to acquit McKnight of all charges because he felt there was no evidence that she engaged in criminal conduct.
“It was an honor defending Judge McKnight and restoring her good name. The evidence clearly demonstrated that she was innocent of any criminal conduct,” McMonagle said.
The case was tried by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office. It said in a statement, “We believe that this case warranted an opportunity to be heard and are disappointed with the outcome, but under Pennsylvania law, we are not permitted to appeal the court’s decision.”
McKnight was suspended from the bench without pay pending the result of her case. The Judicial Conduct Board is expected to reinstate her.
Mcknight’s son, Kevin Baltimore, is expected in court September 30 to face drug charges related to the traffic stop.