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Lawyer: Board member is innocent

Police say they found marijuana in Bensalem school board member Sherri Underland's house.

The lawyer for a Bensalem school board member arrested after police allegedly found a small amount of marijuana in her bedroom says that the drugs were not hers and that she expected to be vindicated.

Sherri Underland "had no knowledge" of the drugs in her house, lawyer Keith Bidlingmaier said Tuesday.

If the evidence shows otherwise, Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler said, he will press Underland to resign.

"To the extent that we would be negotiating any kind of disposition, certainly that would be something we would look for," Heckler said.

Underland, 42, who joined the school board last year, was charged after police searched her home in February and arrested her 18-year-old son, Joseph Dougherty, on charges of felony possession with intent to deliver or manufacture narcotics. It was Dougherty's second drug arrest in three months, court records show.

The officers also filed misdemeanor drug possession counts against Underland and her husband, Samual, after allegedly finding a vial of marijuana in a dresser in their bedroom.

Bensalem Public Safety Director Fred Harran said the vial held about $20 to $40 worth of marijuana.

"We're not talking the mother lode here," Harran said. Still, he said, "if we didn't think there was enough to charge, we certainly wouldn't have charged them."

The case lingered out of the spotlight for more than two months before drawing local media attention this week. Underland's attorney blamed politics, even though Underland doesn't face reelection for two more years.

The case is tentatively scheduled for trial in late June. Bidlingmaier said he expected evidence clearing his client would emerge before then, but he declined to elaborate.

"She can't wait for this to be resolved," he said.