Commonwealth v. C.J.
Four Philadelphia police officers assigned to the East Violence Reduction Unit were traveling in an unmarked patrol car when they observed C.J.’s car parked on a sidewalk at 3100 Reach Street. Officer’s reported that as they approached the car to investigate, C.J. hunched over the center console and began reaching around in that area. C.J.handed police a medical marijuana card and could not produce a driver’s license. Due to his movements police detained C.J. in handcuffs and claimed that he consented to a search of his car. Based on his movements, the gun v violence ion the area and the alleged consent, police searched the car and observed that the gear shift was loose. Officers looked inside and fond a black and pink loaded Ruger handgun. Search incident to arrest police recovered 60 pills of Xanax, oxycodone and marijuana from C.J.’s person. Subsequent DNA testing revealed that C.J.’s DNA was on the gun. The defense filed a motion to suppress evidence and argued that police did not have a reasonable fear for their safety justifying a “frisk” of the car as the DA claimed, and that what in fact occurred was a search of the car without probable cause or exigent circumstances. At the motion, the defense broke down various aspects of the interaction between police and C.J. as well as the recovery of the gun and the Judge ultimately found that based on what was seen on body camera the officers were not credible in their testimony and found that C.J.’s constitutional rights were violated in his arrest and search of the car. The motion to suppress was granted and all charges were dismissed.