After a judge agreed to suppress evidence in a Montgomery County criminal case, the charges were thrown out of court. The defendant was released and his drug charges and related offenses stemming from the arrest were dismissed.
The defendant's attorney argued that law enforcement personnel conducted an improper search of his client's vehicle. He added that this case could encourage those who might feel victimized by authorities who overstep their boundaries. He continued to explain that the vehicle was impounded without a traditional search warrant or without probable cause, which violated his client's rights, and he expressed the relief his client felt at the decision.
Court documents indicated that authorities had placed a known drug residence under surveillance. A person came outside with a bag, opened the trunk, placed the bag in the trunk and removed another bag. They believed the first bag contained drugs and the second bag contained payment for the drugs. Law enforcement conducted a traffic stop and ran a criminal history on the man, who was driving. In addition to a suspended driver's license, they found other criminal offenses. His girlfriend, who owned the car, was a passenger; the car was legally registered in her name.
Authorities towed the vehicle and conducted the search, which led to the alleged discovery of marijuana by a drug-sniffing dog. However, the judge agreed that the owner of the car could have driven the vehicle and that the authorities had no probable cause to search the vehicle without a warrant.
Criminal defense attorneys review evidence to ensure that law enforcement acted within their scope of authority. They protect the rights of clients who may have been victimized by those who overstep legal boundaries.
Source: The Times Herald, "Victory for Norristown defendant after judge rules prosecution's evidence inadmissible," Jenny DeHuff, Nov. 21, 2012