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

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By Burt Rose

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Com. v. Yong, 2015 WL 4366472–Judge Wecht wrote for himself and Judges Lazarus and Panella.
In Pennsylvania, an arresting officer need not possess complete knowledge of the underlying facts supporting probable cause. Instead, he or she may rely upon an instruction to arrest from another officer who possesses the required knowledge. This is known as the collective knowledge doctrine.
However, in this case, there was nothing in the suppression record to suggest that another officer ordered or directed the arresting officer to arrest the defendant. This lack of evidence compels the conclusion that the arresting Officer made a warrantless arrest. The fact that, unbeknownst to him, his colleague had observed the defendant participate in a drug transaction two days earlier “cannot suffice to permit the Commonwealth to leapfrog the Fourth Amendment.” Therefore, the pretrial motion to suppress should have been granted.
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