Jan 23

Commonwealth v. L.H.

Commonwealth v. L.H.

According to police, three officers were conducting a surveillance of an alleyway near Stella and Mayfield Streets in Kensington. They claimed that L.H. (a black man) conducted a drug transaction with a white man in the alley. They claim that they found one packet of cocaine on the white male which is considered a drug offense in Philly, and a stash of matching cocaine nearby totalling 26 packets. L.H. claimed that he was merely present in the alley because he was told to wait there by drug “runners” in the area. When nobody came to sell him the drugs (because the runners and lookouts had detected a police presence in the area) L.H. left the alley. At trial, the defense vigorously attacked the officers’ credibility and presented compelling evidence that suggested that L.H. was indeed a buyer, and not seller of cocaine. Most importantly, prior to trial, defense investigation revealed that the lead officer on the case had been sanctioned by Internal Affairs for having KKK regalia in his police locker. This strong evidence of bias was used to show that the police in this case had assumed L.H. held the role of dealer because of their pre-conceived racial stereotypes. The jury came back with a Not Guilty verdict in less than ONE minute.

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