DA withdraws citation of Red Lion-area woman cited for driving during stay-at-home order

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
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A district judge has granted a request from York County District Attorney Dave Sunday to withdraw a citation filed against a Red Lion-area woman who was the first in the state to be cited for allegedly violating the governor's COVID-19 stay-at-home order.

Anita Lynn Shaffer, 19, of York Township, had faced a fine and costs of about $225 after being pulled over by state Trooper David Linton on March 29 as she was driving home.

The DA wrote in a Tuesday memorandum to District Judge John H. Fishel that the summary citation was "infirm on its face" because it cited Shaffer with the section of law regarding nonessential businesses being ordered to close, rather than with the section of law about people violating stay-at-home orders.

"Beyond (that) infirmity, however, there is a more critical overarching interest of justice consideration that controls this case," Sunday wrote.

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Shaffer was polite and respectful to troopers and answered their questions honestly, explaining to them that she'd gone for a drive and was on her way home, according to the memo.

"Ironically, if Ms. Shaffer had lied to the (trooper) and stated that she was driving to obtain food, medicine, or to a path to engage in outside exercise, Ms. Shaffer could not have received a citation for violating the stay at home order because no facts would exist to support its issuance," Sunday wrote.

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The DA wrote that moving forward with a citation against Shaffer for violating the stay-at-home order doesn't serve "the interests of justice."

Sunday noted in the memo that he was, at this point, declining to address the constitutionality of such stay-at-home orders.

Fishel granted the request on Wednesday, according to court records.

State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York Township, had urged Sunday to drop the citation against Shaffer. 

Shaffer did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.