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Drug Crimes

September 15, 2008

Pennsylvania Superior Court Upholds Conviction where Evidence of Trafficking Outweighs Expert Testimony of Personal Use

Philadelphia police officers arrested a man suspected of trafficking drugs, after observing him twice engage in hand-to-hand transactions with individuals who approached the suspect. The suspected dealer, Lawrence Lee, was observed accepting money from individuals, walking across the street to a vacant lot, and then returning with small objects in his hand which he would give to the buyer. Following the first sale observed by police, the buyer was stopped, searched, and a small, pink-tinted bag containing crack-cocaine was recovered. After observing the second sale, police arrested Lee and...

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September 8, 2008

Pennsylvania Appellate Court Upholds Suppression of Evidence Obtained through Coercive Traffic Stop

The Superior Court of Pennsylvania recently upheld a Cumberland County trial court’s decision to suppress evidence obtained through a traffic stop. Terry Moyer was stopped when a Corporal from the Pennsylvania State Police noticed a hole in his rear taillight. The Corporal turned on a spotlight and observed frantic movement between the driver, Mr. Moyer, and his passenger. The Corporal approached the driver and proceeded to initiate the traffic stop. The Corporal returned to his vehicle with Mr. Moyer’s information and as he was examining the driver’s information, another State...

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Posted in: Drug Crimes

August 15, 2008

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Ruling Requires More than Police Experience to Constitute Probable Cause to Search Following a Perceived Drug Deal

A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania man, who was arrested outside of a bar when patrolling police officers witnessed what they perceived to be a drug deal, has had his conviction overturned by the Pennsylvania Superior Court. Philadelphia Police were driving by when they observed the defendant exit the bar and approach a man who had been standing out front. The officers, experienced members of the Narcotics Field Unit, parked their vehicle and observed the defendant engage in conversation with the man. The officers saw the defendant hand the man currency with his left hand and receive some...

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Posted in: Drug Crimes

July 8, 2008

MONEY LAUNDERING CASES NOW POSE GREATER BURDEN FOR PROSECUTION

The Supreme Court of the United States decided two cases on June 2, 2008, pertaining to charges of money laundering. In the first case, the charge of money laundering could only be applied to profits from an illegal gambling ring, and not payouts to bettors or employees. In the second case, the Court held that money laundering charges cannot be applied to a person simply hiding a large amount of cash in the trunk of a vehicle; the driver was stopped on the way to the Mexican border. According to the Associated...

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Posted in: Drug Crimes, Money Laundering and Racketeering (RICO)

June 16, 2008

WRESTLER’S DOCTOR PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO DRUG OFFENSES

Dr. Phil Astin pled not guilty to a 175-count indictment, alleging conspiracy and illegal distribution of prescription drugs, in Federal Court in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday. Astin was the doctor for professional wrestler Chris Benoit and is accused of providing him with illegal steroids, which led to Benoit’s mental health problems and caused him to kill himself, his wife, and his seven-year old son. Although medical examiners could not link steroid use to Benoit’s actions in June of 2007, they allege that Astin prescribed anabolic steroids to Benoit and other patients. The 175-count...

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Posted in: Drug Crimes, Professional Licensure Issues