814.273.2010

814.273.2010

purchase, george & murphey.

purchase, george & murphey.

Confession Suppressed – PWID Heroin Cocaine Charges Dismissed

Tower near water Marina

Confession Suppressed – PWID Heroin and Cocaine Charges Dismissed

In September 2014, Erie police received information that an illegal drug known as K2 was being sold at a convenience store on East Avenue in the City of Erie. Police obtained a search warrant to search the location. During the search, two individuals were located within the store. In the course of the search, a backpack containing heroin, K2, and marijuana was reportedly found. The drugs were individually packaged in small Ziploc bags. In addition to finding the drugs, police found several digital scales. (Nothing was found either in or on the backpack that indicated who owned the backpack, such as identification cards or papers.)

In the course of conducting the search, police interviewed the two individuals who were located within the store at that time. Although the backpack containing the illegal drugs was found behind the counter and away from the individuals, one individual admitted to owning the backpack which contained illegal drugs.

Tim George, on behalf of the individual who admitted to ownership of the backpack, challenged the lawfulness of the confession. The defense argued that circumstances surrounding the interview conducted by the police within the convenience store amounted to a custodial interrogation which required police to advise the individuals of their right to remain silent under Miranda v. Arizona. The trial court agreed and suppressed the incriminating statements made by the defendant.

Later, the defense filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, arguing that without the incriminating statement nothing linked the backpack to the individual in the store. The habeas petition was also granted, resulting in the Commonwealth dropping all of the criminal charges.

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