Judge: Police Violated Rights - Drug & Gun Charges Dropped
BY MELISSA BUSCH
Drug and gun charges were dropped against a 22-year-old Bristol man after a judge ruled that his constitutional rights were violated when police directed him to talk although they had not seen him commit a crime.
The Bucks County District Attorney's Office on Monday dismissed all charges against Darius Newton including possession with the intent to deliver crack cocaine and possession of an unlicensed firearm.
Newton was arrested at about 1 a.m. on June 5, 2005, after police were called to the 100 block of Buckley Street about music blaring from a car stereo.
Newton, who was standing next to the car, walked away as police approached.
Police instructed Newton to come back and talk to them.
Newton then dropped "a dark-colored object," which turned out to be a black semiautomatic handgun, between a car and the sidewalk before he walked back, police said.
Police found the gun and then searched him, according to court records. Newton, police said, was carrying $243 and a sandwich bag containing crack cocaine.
Defense attorney Michael Parlow said police were not justified in telling Newton to come back and talk to them.
"They did not see any criminal activity on his behalf when the officer directed him to come back," Parlow said. "He was standing next to a car that was playing loud music. He wasn't the driver. He wasn't the owner. He hadn't committed any crime in front of the officer when he was directed to come back."
Bucks County Judge David Heckler ruled this week that Newton's rights had been violated and then suppressed the gun and the drugs from coming into evidence at his trial.
The suppression of evidence triggered the DA's office to dismiss the charges.
Reprinted with permission from Bucks County Courier Times
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