Sep 26

Commonwealth v. P.M.

Commonwealth v. P.M.

Philadelphia Police were on routine patrol around 2700 Croskey when they observed P.M. operating a black Buick sedan with heavy ting and an inoperable brake light. The car was pulled over and police claimed that P.M. was excessively nervous, refused to lower the rear passenger side window, and continuously looked over in that direction. Based on these observations, police conducted a “frisk” of the car and found a gun in the rear backseat passenger side area. After that gun was recovered, other police officers arrived on scene and noticed that the car matches a “patrol alert” for a car involved in a shooting the day before at 2100 Hamburger Street. In that case, a person was observed on surveillance video exiting a black Buick and firing numerous shots in the direction of unknown individuals. No gunfire was returned by them, and casings from the gun fired by the person exiting the vehicle were recovered. After arresting P.M. for the gun that was recovered, he was transported to Northwest Detectives where he gave a post-Miranda statement admitting to shooting the gun on Hamburger Street. In addition, the casings recovered from the shooting scene were a match to the gun that was recovered from P.M.’s car. The defense rejected a plea deal of 8-16 years in jail, and filed a motion to suppress the firearm and statement from evidence on the basis that the gun was recovered during an unlawful search of the car and that the statement was provided after an unlawful arrest for the gun. A judge agreed with the defense position that the officers lacked reasonable suspicion to believe that P.M. was armed and dangerous at the time the “frisk” of the car, especially because they were not aware of the patrol alert at that time. With the gun and statement suppressed from evidence, the Commonwealth will not have sufficient evidence to prosecute P.M. on the shooting, or the possession of the gun.

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