Apr 20

Commonwealth v. R.B.

Commonwealth v. R.B.

DEA Group 23 was conducting a long term investigation of individuals in the area of 5900 Morton St. During the investigation, they began monitoring the social media account of R.B. On one occasion, police observed someone posting a video on R.B.’s Instagram account of an individual in a car who was in possession of a firearm. It was noted that street signs in the video indicated that the video was taken within the confines of the City. On another occasion, police observed an Instagram Live video of R.B. allegedly in a car with police lights on in the background. In a caption of the video, it stated “It’s two poles and I got pulled ova. Good thing they didn’t search.” At the preliminary hearing, an officer testified that “poles” refer to guns and that he believed that R.B. was in possession of two guns that were not recovered by police on that day. On a third occasion, police observed R.B. post on Instagram “Glick for sale.” The officer testified that indicated that R.B. was attempting to sell a Glock handgun. Police executed a search warrant at a house believed to be where R.B. resided and recovered a Ravens Arms firearm, and a Glock gun box along with ammunition. The defense successfully argued that the Commonwealth failed to establish constructive possession over the gun that was seen in the first video, and that R.B. could not be prosecuted for his other video posts under the “corpus delicti” rule, which requires that the Commonwealth independently show a crime occurred before they are able to introduce a statement of a defendant. All charges were dismissed at the preliminary hearing.

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