Judge Rules Automobile Does Not Guarantee Privacy

By Jean A. Flanagan
Moorefield Examiner –

Katie Brown, 24, of Moorefield, testified she would not have sold drugs to a Potomac Highlands Drug Task Force confidential informant in a public place. She initially asked the CI to come to her home, but instead they met at the Moorefield Town Park and the transaction took place in her automobile. 

Brown was indicted by the Hardy County grand jury on one count of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance and one count of conspiracy. A motion hearing was held on Wednesday, July 30.

Brown’s attorney, Jared Moore, filed a motion in Hardy County Circuit court arguing the defendant expected the same privacy in her automobile that is afforded in one’s home. His motion included case law. 

Brown said the park was deserted. There were no cars in the parking lot, no baseball or basketball games in progress, no children or adults in sight. 

Brown also testified the CI wanted to complete the transaction in a restroom at the park. “I expected privacy in my car.” 

Hardy County Prosecuting Attorney Lucas See asked if Brown admitted selling pills to a confidential informant for $200.

Brown said, “Yes.”

Judge Charles Parsons denied the motion saying the case law applied to a home and not an automobile. He set final pretrial hearing for Tuesday, Sept. 9.

Parsons also heard plea agreements and other motions in court on Wednesday.

•Justin See, 34, was sentenced to six months in jail, a fine of $5 and two years probation for attempting to obtain goods under false pretenses.

See was arrested in 2011 and charged with two counts of attempting to obtain a controlled substance by fraud and two counts of uttering a forged writing in 2011. He completed the Drug Court program and the felony charges were reduced to the misdemeanor charge. 

“We’re very proud of you for completing Drug Court,” Parsons said.

“It was very difficult, but a life-changing program,” See said.

•Cylee Shirk, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy. She was originally charged with one count of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance and conspiracy. 

The prosecuting attorney recommended Shirk serve not less than one year and not more than five years in prison.

Parsons ordered a pre-sentencing evaluation and scheduled sentencing for Aug. 12.

•Lisa Combs, 45, of Wardensville, pleaded guilty to one count of forgery with a credit card and one count of fraudulent schemes. She was originally charged with seven counts of forgery with a credit card, one count of fraudulent schemes and one count of grand larceny.

According to court documents, Combs, who was caring for the elderly victim, withdrew in excess of $11,000 using the victim’s debit card. Bank surveillance cameras show Combs making the withdrawals.

The prosecuting attorney recommended Combs serve not less than one year and not more than 10 years on each count, but that the sentences run concurrently.

Judge Rules Automobile Does Not Guarantee Privacy
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