PHILADELPHIA DRUG CASE OVERTURNED, POLICE EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING NOT ENOUGH
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania recently decided a case which overturned the conviction of a defendant charged with possessing illegal drugs in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Police arrested a man after witnessing an exchange of currency for an unknown object; without seeing any other suspicious activity. The man arrested was searched and found to be in possession of crack-cocaine. The officers testified that the area they were surveying was a high-crime area and that based on their training and length of experience on the drug strike force, they had probable cause to determine that the exchange was made for illegal drugs.
The Court determined that police training and experience were factors to be considered, however, police training and experience alone were not sufficient for a finding that probable cause existed in this case. The officers witnessed a single transaction and the object of the transaction, although suspicious, was unknown. The Court held that the officers had a reasonable suspicion to believe they had witnessed a drug transaction, but with nothing further, did not have probable cause to perform the search which led to defendant’s arrest.
Drug offenses are serious matters which involve serious penalties. If you have been charged with a drug offense, there are many defenses which may be available. Contact the Law Offices of Marc Neff immediately so that we may assist you in your situation.