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PENNSYLVANIA State won't charge justice in airport stop

Published: Sat, February 19, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.

He could be fined for trying to get a pocketknife past security.

HARRISBURG (AP) -- A Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice won't face state charges for trying to get a small pocketknife past security at Harrisburg International Airport, a prosecutor said.

The allegations against Justice Thomas G. Saylor are more appropriately handled by federal authorities, said Dauphin County District Attorney Edward M. Marsico Jr., who had been considering a summary charge of disorderly conduct.

Justice Saylor could be fined up to $6,000 by the Transportation Security Administration, which is investigating. A TSA spokeswoman has said that there is a "high probability" that Justice Saylor will be fined.

The maximum penalty for disorderly conduct, meanwhile, is $300.

Federal prosecutors have declined criminal prosecution under a federal law making it a felony to sneak a "concealed dangerous weapon" onto a flight.

What happened

Justice Saylor and his wife, who were headed to Philadelphia, were entering a checkpoint area earlier this month when screeners found a small Swiss Army-style knife attached to his key chain. A police report said he was told the item could not be carried onto a plane and that he needed to place the knife into checked luggage or make other arrangements.

When Justice Saylor returned a short time later to be screened a second time, an X-ray machine detected a knife inside his carryon luggage, a police report said. When he was told what they were searching for, Justice Saylor informed screeners that the knife was hidden inside a soft-sided shoe.

Justice Saylor has not responded to requests to comment.


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