For immediate release, Philadelphia
Last month, criminal attorney David S. Nenner won a Motion to Suppress for his client (Commonwealth v. B.J., CP-51-CR-12699-2014). The case was a Philadelphia County case, and Mr. Nenner’s client was charged with one count of Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver (a felony) and one count of Intentional Possession of a Controlled Substance by a Person Not Registered (a misdemeanor). The second charge is usually known as “simple possession,” or possessing a prescription drug without a valid prescription.
On March 31, 2015, Judge Sierra Thomas Street of the Court of Common Pleas (Philadelphia County) heard the motion and granted it. The case was withdrawn (nolle prosequied with prejudice).
Mr. Nenner’s client was a passenger in the back seat of a car pulled over by police, last year. The police alleged that Mr. Nenner’s client threw narcotics out of the window. The prosecution’s case relied heavily on the testimony of a police officer who testified that he pulled a car over because of a broken rear tail light.
INVESTIGATION AND PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE TO REBUT
Mr. Nenner presented testimony from the owner of the vehicle who had just come home from military service in California and was diligent in making sure her car was legal and in proper working order. In addition, Mr. Nenner presented paperwork from two different vendors who serviced the vehicle, one for a state inspection and the second for an oil change. The vehicle had been inspected on two separate dates with the state inspection occurring approximately a week prior to the stop and the second within two days of the stop.
Here, the owner’s testimony plus the paperwork corroborated Mr. Nenner’s contention that all of the rear lights were in good working order at the time of the stop. In other words, police stopped the car because it contained three black males (the driver was the owner’s brother). All of the physical evidence was suppressed and the Commonwealth had to withdraw prosecution.
TIMELINE OF THE CASE
- August 10, 2014 – date of arrest
- November 10, 2014 – Preliminary Hearing, charges held for court
- December 8, 2014 – Information filed
- December 24, 2014 – Entry of Appearance, David S. Nenner
- December 30, 2014 – Motion to Suppress filed
- March 31, 2015 – Motion to Suppress granted
POLICE CREDIBILITY IN PHILADELPHIA CRIMINAL CASES
Philadelphia is under national scrutiny right now, due to media attention on the Philadelphia police corruption scandal. Multiple Philadelphia police officers are facing criminal charges for stealing and lying, among other things. This recent case shows a pattern not many people are aware of – an officer making up some minor traffic violation as a pretext to pull a car over. The reality is that police officers sometimes make errors of judgment, some outright lie, due to the desire to “catch the bad guy.”
Here, the entire case hinged on the credibility or believability of the police officer’s testimony about the reason for pulling the car over in the first place. In this case, the court simply did not believe the officer. The owner’s testimony and vehicle maintenance documents were sufficient to counter the officer’s version of events.
ABOUT DAVID NENNER, FREE CONSULTATIONS – CALL (215) 515-0042
David S. Nenner is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who has been representing residents of the Philadelphia area for 30 years. Please call our office for a free consultation.