Commonwealth v. J.S.
A Philadelphia police Lieutenant responding to a shooting in Kensington allegedly observed J.S. removing a red hoodie and discarding a firearm before he ultimately tried to hide from police under a parked car. The gun and hoodie were recovered, and then J.S. was taken to the hospital where he was immediately identified by the shooting victim, who then identified J.S. again at a preliminary hearing for this Philly gun offense. The red hoodie was analysed and found to have had gunshot residue on the sleeves. After rejecting an “offer” of 10 to 20 years in jail, the defense filed a motion to suppress the identification made by the victim. At the motion, the defense challenged the unduly suggestive procedure the police used in taking J.S. to be identified in a one-on-one confrontation. In addition, the top Philly defense attorney presented radio calls from the night of the shooting that challenged the credibility of all of the officers involved, and tainted the reliability of the testimony from the victim. The trial court judge, in a major victory for the defense, ruled that the DA would not be allowed to elicit identification testimony from the victim in the case thus leaving a gaping hole in the Commonwealth’s case. Rather than proceed to trial, the DA is now forced to appeal the decision to the Superior Court, which will likely be an uphill battle for the prosecution in light of the fact that the trial judge found that the police were not credible at the motion hearing.