Commonwealth v. J.E. – Motion to Suppress Granted

J.E. was observed by an officer making two transactions to buyers of alleged illegal narcotics from a pill bottle. The officer called the district as he was off duty and gave specific information about the make and model of the car that J.E. was seen driving in which included a broken side mirror. A few days later J.E. was seen by narcotics officers with the exact same vehicle. As officers drove toward J.E. and his car they saw him throw a pill bottle into his automobile. The officers stopped J.E. and reached into his car, pulling out the pill bottle. Officers held the car as they waited for a K-9 drug sniffing dog. The dig arrived and made a positive hit on the trunk of the car. J.E. was eventually badgered into signing a consent to search for the car. Officers searched the trunk of the vehicle and found a massive amount of illegal pills and a pad to write prescriptions. Mr. Shaffer was able to elicit that the officers reached into the automobile without a search warrant and that the bottle of pills was allegedly first seen 80 feet away while driving. The point was locked in on cross examination that the pill bottle looked exactly like one that would be found at a pharmacy and that it wasn’t illegal on its face. The judge agreed and deemed that the initial seizure of the pill bottle from the car was illegal and that everything else was tainted by the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine. All of the evidence was suppressed.