Superior Court overrules Lehigh County Judge James T
Superior Court overrules county judge in drug case
January 16, 2012By Kevin Amerman, Of The Morning Call
State Superior Court judges say a Lehigh County judge erred when he suppressed as evidence 30 pounds of marijuana found in an Allentown man’s car after the man consented to a warrantless search.
Prosecutors are now permitted to use the evidence against Albert Solomon Jr., 33.
This month, three Superior Court judges including former Lehigh County President Judge William H. Platt, who wrote the opinion reversed an order entered March 28 by Judge James T. Anthony that suppressed the evidence.
Anthony, according to the Lehigh County district attorney’s office, ruled there was no probable cause for Solomon’s arrest.
In May, Anthony reduced Sol ray ban omon’s bail from $100,000 to $25,000. Solomon posted the bail on May 17 and, at ray ban the time, his drug dealing charges were weakened significantly because of Anthony’s ruling.
But with the evidence restored, Solomon faces another hearing on the charges next month.
Solomon was charged in 2009 with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal conspiracy.
According to Platt’s opinion:
On April 21, 2009, state narcotics agents were conducting surveillance outside a house on W. Chew Street in Allentown. The surveillance was the result of several weeks of investigations that included confidential informants and controlled drug buys.
The agents saw a woman park a car, and a man who lived in the house came out and removed a large box from the vehicle and took it into the house. The woman later left the area and was stopped by agents. She said that she had dropped off marijuana at the house.
Agents saw a car driven by Solomon pull up alongside the residence. Two hours later, they saw Solomon and another perso ray ban n come out of a breezeway near the residence and get into the car. The man who previously had taken the box from the woman’s car came out of the house and put two large trash bags into the trunk of Solomon’s car.
The agents alerted Allentown police and they stopped the car and arrested Solomon, who gave written consent for police to search the vehicle without a warrant. Police found 30 p ray ban ounds of marijuana in the trash bags in the vehicle.
Solomon later filed a motion to suppress the evidence, and Anthony granted the request, saying, “even viewed from the vantage point of a prudent, reasonable, cautious police officer, the facts presented would not justify a person of reasonable caution in believing” the defendant was committing a crime.
The prosecution argued that Anthony erred because the arrest was supported by probable cause and the defendant voluntarily consented to the search.
The Superior Court judges noted that trained, experienced law enforcement officers can “observe criminal activity in transactions, which would not necessarily be observed by the lay observer.”
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