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Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Todd Astillero

January 31, 2012

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA APPELLANT
v.
TODD ASTILLERO



Appeal from the Order, February 3, 2010, in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County Criminal Division at Nos. CP-51-CR-0006779-2009, MC-51-CR-0012118-2009

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ford Elliott, P.J.E.:

J. A31021/11

BEFORE: STEVENS, P.J., FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E., AND GANTMAN, J.

OPINION BY FORD ELLIOTT, P.J.E.:

This is an appeal by the Commonwealth from an order granting appellee Todd Astillero's motion to suppress.*fn1 For the reasons discussed below, we reverse and remand for trial.

The facts of this case, as stated by the suppression court, are as follows:

1. In response to the motion to suppress, the

Commonwealth called Philadelphia Police Officer Steven Wheeler as its first witness (Suppression Hearing, N.T., February 2, 2010; p. 3-14).

2. Officer Wheeler testified that on March 17, 2009, at approximately 11:45 P.M., he was on duty as a Philadelphia Police Officer, working with Police Officer Jonathan Czapore (Suppression Hearing, N.T., February 2, 2010; p. 3).

3. At that time, Officer Wheeler and Officer Czapore were assigned to the 25th Police District Narcotics Enforcement Team.

Office[sic] Wheeler testified at as of that date, he had been working on that unit for the past seven (7) years and had during that time conducted between 500-750 surveillances. A "large number" of these surveillances have resulted in arrests (Suppression Hearing, N.T., February 2, 2010; p. 3-4).

4. On March 17, 2009, Police Officer Wheeler and his partner were conducting narcotics surveillance of Front and Clearfield Streets which is located within the city and county of Philadelphia, a location in which a police supervisor had assigned them to observe. According to Officer Wheeler, Front and Clearfield Streets is a residential area with a "Chinese store" located on the southeast corner of the location, and a grocery store located on the northwest corner. According to Officer Wheeler, the area of Front and Clearfield Streets is "known for the sale of PCP and marijuana" (Suppression Hearing, N.T., February 2, 2010; p. 5).

5. Office [sic] Wheeler testified that he observed

Defendant Astillero with another black male who was never identified by the police, standing in front of the Chinese store located on the southeast corner of Front and Clearfield Streets. On three separate occasions he observed the unidentified black male escort individuals to 100 East Clearfield Street. The unidentified black male would then, "engage in a transaction with these persons from his person to theirs. He would hand ...


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