A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

Superior Court 2011

By Burt Rose

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    COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant v. Andrew Keith ENIMPAH, 2013 WL 453895, 2013 PA Super 20, 125 MDA 2012 (Feb. 6, 2013) is a decision of a panel of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania on an appeal from the Court of Common Pleas of Honorable Bradford Charles of Lebanon County, Criminal Division, CP–38–CR–0001362–2011. The Judges were SHOGAN,LAZARUS and OTT. Judge Lazarus wrote the Opinion.

The Commonwealth was appealing an order entered in the Court of Common Pleas of Lebanon County in favor of appellee, Andrew Enimpah, granting his motion to suppress in a PWID case.The Commonwealth argued that Enimpah had failed to meet his “preliminary burden to prove the existence of a reasonable expectation of privacy” prior to the merits phase of a suppression hearing.

The Court held that in the merits phase of a suppression inquiry, it is not enough for the Commonwealth to simply sit on its hands but rather it must meet a burden of production, and bring its evidence before the suppression court, which can then make a fully informed decision. This does not, however, excuse the defendant from meeting the burden of persuasion as to his or her reasonable expectation of privacy.

A defendant has an obligation to demonstrate that the challenged police conduct implicated a reasonable expectation of privacy that he personally possessed. Thus defendants must convince the trial court that the Commonwealth violated his or her reasonable expectation of privacy in order for suppression to be proper. A defendant cannot prevail upon a suppression motion unless he demonstrates that the challenged police conduct violated his own, personal privacy interests. Therefore, while the Commonwealth has the burden of going forward under Pa.R.Crim.P. 581(H), the defendant still must meet a burden of persuasion that his or her expectation of privacy was violated. Whether the defendant has a legitimate expectation of privacy is a component of the merits analysis of the suppression motion. The determination whether the defendant has met this burden is made upon evaluation of the evidence presented by the Commonwealth and the defendant.

 

In this case, where the Commonwealth essentially refused to contest Enimpah’s motion, Judge Charles was well within his discretion to grant the motion and suppress the evidence.

Roy L. Galloway, III, Esquire of Lemoyne, PA represented the Appellee.

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