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Drug Crimes

March 12, 2012

Police Must Have Probable Cause that a Crime is Being Committed in Order to Seize a Vehicle While Waiting to Obtain a Search Warrant

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Trayvon Nmn Joseph, 34 A.3d 855, was an appeal from a Judgment of Sentence in the Court of Common Pleas. Joseph appealed his convictions for persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell, or transfer firearms, in violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6105(c)(2), and firearms not to be carried without a license, in violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 6106(a)(1). Appellant had been pulled over by a Pennsylvania State Trooper who claimed that there were four types of drug paraphernalia in appellant’s vehicle:...

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March 9, 2012

Fourth Amendment Protects Homes From Warrantless Drug Dog “Sniff Tests”

The Supreme Court of Florida has decided the case of Joelis Jardines, Petitioner, v. State of Florida, Respondent, No. SC08-2101, 2011 WL 1405080 (April 14, 2011). In this matter, police conducted a warrantless "sniff test" by a drug detection dog at defendant's home and discovered live marijuana plants inside. The trial court granted defendant's motion to suppress, the district court reversed, but the Supreme Court stated that the warrantless "sniff test" that was conducted at the front door of the residence was an unreasonable...

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November 12, 2010

Charges Dropped Against Rapper T.I.

Prosecutors recently dropped drug charges against rapper T.I. stemming from his September arrest in Los Angeles with his wife, Tiny. Police had stopped the two after their vehicle made an illegal U-turn, at which time officers reported smelling marijuana as they approached the car. After searching the car and its occupants, police discovered tablets of the illegal drug Ecstasy. Although the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office elected to drop charges against the rapper,...

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September 21, 2010

Sentencing in Drug Case Vacated

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently vacated a defendant’s conviction for drug charges upon a finding that the evidence was obtained as a result of an unlawful search and seizure. In 2008, the defendant was arrested and charged with possession and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance after he was found carrying large quantities of marijuana and crack cocaine. An on-duty officer had noticed the defendant on a street corner with three separate individuals over the course of an hour, each time entering a...

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September 15, 2010

Prosecutorial Misconduct Causes Reversal in Drug Case

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently vacated a defendant’s conviction on the grounds that the prosecutor’s introduction of testimony, that he had promised not to rely on at trial, had deprived the defendant of a fair trial. In US v. Liburd, Liburd was convicted of attempted importation of cocaine and possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine. On Oct. 4, 2008, Liburd attempted to board a flight to Atlanta from the St. Thomas airport. As he passed through TSA security, one of the officers noticed...

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