Commonwealth v. A.V.
Narcotics officers received information about drug dealing on a specific block in West Philadelphia. Based on that information, they utilize a confidential informant to purchase cocaine on the block. Police claim they observed A.V. sell the informant cocaine on two separate occasions after first going into a house. Then, the following day, the observe A.V. arrive at the same house and place a plastic bag on the porch. Police move in and arrest A.V., seize the bag they claimed A.V. was carrying, and recover the items in the bag which turned out to be 15 packets off cocaine that matched what was purchased the day prior. In his crotch area, the police recovered 4 grams of marijuana. At trial, one of Philadelphia’s top drug lawyers successfully argued that they had mistakenly identified A.V. as the person who had sold to the informant, and challenged the credibility of the officers who testified they saw A.V. in possession of the 15 packets of cocaine. The defense argued that A.V. was only guilty of possessing the small amount of marijuana on his person, and a judge agreed. The judge found A.V. guilty only of that minor offense, and A.V. avoided what would have been a significant state sentence under sentencing guidelines.