Posted by Perry de Marco, Sr. on 4 January 2016

On February 18, 2015, based upon information regarding drug sales on a North Philadelphia street corner, the police set up a surveillance. During that surveillance they witnessed my young female client standing with two male drug dealers, on the corner. A buyer walked up to one of the dealers and engaged in what was obviously a drug transaction. The dealer handed something to the buyer, who put the object to his nose to smell it but then returned it, shaking his head as if to say no! It was during this encounter that my client walked into the street, and looked around in all directions. In a short while the buyer returned wearing different clothing, and again approached the dealer. Again my client walked into the street looking around in all directions. This time however money was exchanged for the drugs and the purchaser left. The surveillance officers called in back up officers and the buyer was arrested with pot and percoset in his possession. At that point the male dealers were arrested along with my client, who the police accused of being a look out! She was charged with Conspiracy to sell narcotics. The case proceeded to trial in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County on December 15, 2015. During my cross-examination of the surveillance officer I asked him if my client ever communicated with the dealers, by signals or in any other way? The answer was no. The law is clear that mere presence at the scene of a crime is not a crime. So I made the mere presence argument. It’s not a great idea to hang out with drug dealers but its not a crime either. Also I argued that the DA never elicited whether or not my client ever actually crossed the street on both occasions. After all when you cross a street aren’t you supposed to look in all directions before doing so? She may very well have been trying to distance herself from the drug transactions. Verdict, Not Guilty!