Commonwealth v. W.K.
During the execution of a search warrant, Philadelphia police recovered over 5 grams of crack cocaine, scales and packaging material in W.K.’s house. Ordinarily, the Defendant would have been facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 to 6 years in incarceration based on the weight of the drugs. However, the defense argued that a recent United States Supreme Court decision in United States v. Alleyne rendered the statute that required a mandatory sentence unconstitutional. Since the Supreme Court ruling, many different jurisdictions within Pennsylvania have been split on the issue as to whether the sentencing scheme is unconstitutional. The defense filed a motion to declare the statute unconstitutional before Common Pleas Court Judge Scott O’Keefe. In a landmark ruling, Judge O’Keefe, having never rendered a decision on the issue prior to the defense motion, agreed with the defense and held that the mandatory sentence otherwise applicable in this case was unconstitutional.