Commonwealth v. J.W.; February 2009

Commonwealth v. J.W.; February 2009

Outcome: Judgment of acquittal granted on narcotics and firearm charges. The entire case was dismissed against him before closing arguments. J.W. faced a 5-10 year state incarceration sentence if convicted of the gun and drug charges. Instead, he faced no penalty as a result of his acquittal.

Description: J.W. was charged with possession with intent to deliver, possession of numerous firearms and conspiracy after a multi-day surveillance by Philadelphia narcotics officer. The officer alleged that they observed J.W. with others while they made drug sales to others from two houses and a car. When police made the arrest of J.W. and his co-defendants they were sitting on steps where a firearm was found below defendant. There was another gun found in the house along with additional drugs. Mr. Fishman cross-examined multiple police officers to establish that J.W. was merely present during the narcotics transactions and was never directly involved with the buyers or his co-defendants. Following the Commonwealth’s case-in-chief, Mr. Fishman argued a Motion for Judgment of Acquittal alleging that no reasonable juror could find J.W. guilty of any crime due to a theory of mere presence. The argument was accepted by the court prior to closing arguments and all charges were dismissed. J.W. was facing a mandatory minimum of 5-10 years of state incarceration.