Commonwealth v. O.L.
Philadelphia police officers received a radio call reporting that there was a man inside of a bar at 52nd and Webster wearing an army fatigue jacket who was in possession of a firearm. Officers responded to the bar and saw O.L. seated inside and matching the description of the person with the gun. One of the officers conducted a “safety frisk” on O.L. and recovered a firearm out of his pocket. Rather than accept an offer to plead guilty in exchange for a 5-10 year prison sentence, the defense filed a motion to suppress evidence arguing that the US and PA constitutions prohibit a frisk under these circumstances. Because the radio call came from an anonymous source and there was no independent basis for the officers to believe that O.L. was in possession of a firearm, the police were not allowed to stop, detain, or frisk O.L. The Judge suppressed the firearm from evidence, forcing the Commonwealth to withdraw charges against O.L.