Commonwealth v. Moore

The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled the defendant waived his arguments that relied on Alexander, and the Court affirmed the denial of his suppression motion. The police stopped and searched the defendant’s girlfriend’s car, which he was driving. The officers recovered a gun, ammo, and drugs from a backpack they found in the backseat. The defendant filed a motion to suppress, which the trial court denied. First, the Superior Court ruled that the defendant waived any claims under Alexander because he did not raise them in the trial court or his 1925(b) statement. Therefore, the Court “declined to address whether exigent circumstances existed to justify a warrantless vehicle search”. The Court then ruled that the officers had probable cause to search the vehicle and the backpack. The totality of the evidence provided the officers with sufficient information that there was a “fair probability that contraband” would be found in the backpack. That evidence included: 1) marijuana had recently been smoked in the vehicle, 2) the backpack’s accessible location, 3) the defendant moved the backpack before the police stopped the car, 4) and the defendant’s defensive demeanor and flight from the scene indicating consciousness of guilt. The Court vacated the defendant’s conviction for PIC because the evidence did not show that he possessed a knife.

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