Reflections on The Spectrum

Write hard Dennis j. wright

Officer Lance Frost testified he and Officer Brad Dobry came into contact with Michael William Thomas, 31, of the 200 block of Taylor Alley, Phoenixville, upon receiving information of suspicious activity inside a vehicle parked behind Lojo's Bar at 1 a.m. Oct. 5.

"Officer Dobry and myself watched the vehicle and noticed two passengers inside," said Frost. "We approached the vehicle and I went to the passenger side. I spoke with Thomas and had him exit the vehicle. After patting him down for my safety, I found a small brown glassine packet containing a white powder laying on the plastic molding of the passenger side door."

Frost said Thomas was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

"I sent the packet off to the Pennsylvania State Police Lab in Lima," said Frost. "The results came back that the powder inside the packet was cocaine."

During his testimony, Frost said in his opinion the cocaine found in the vehicle was for personal use and it was within Thomas' reach. Frost also said the vehicle was parked in a high drug activity area and the vehicle's owner, David Dale, was charged and cited for disorderly conduct.

After hearing the testimony, Thomas' attorney, Public Defender Jennifer Gowan, asked that the charges be dismissed.

"The presence of the packet inside the vehicle doesn't necessarily mean that it belongs to Mr. Thomas," said Gowan. "We heard no testimony that the officers observed Mr. Thomas making any furtive motions in the direction of the packet."

District Justice Ted Michaels then dismissed the charges, citing Pennsylvania case law that supports the fact that mere presence of a packet doesn't constitute possession.

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