from the Judgment of Sentence January 25, 2017 In the Court
of Common Pleas of Montgomery County Criminal Division at
BEFORE: OTT, J., McLAUGHLIN, J., and STEVENS [*], P.J.E.
STEVENS, P.J.E JUDGE
Jonathan Koonce appeals from the judgment of sentence of four
years' reporting probation entered in the Court of Common
Pleas of Montgomery County on January 25, 2017, following his
conviction in a stipulated non-jury trial of possession with
intent to deliver (marijuana). We affirm.
trial court aptly set forth the relevant facts revealed at
the suppression hearing as follows:
The credible testimony of the Commonwealth witnesses,
Detective Christopher Schwartz of the Plymouth Township
Police Department and Detective Iran Millan of the Montgomery
County Detective Bureau established the following facts. In
November of 2015, Detective Christopher Schwartz of the
Plymouth Township Police Department met with a
to set up a controlled buy. (Motion to Suppress 1/17/2017 pp.
4, 5). Detective Schwartz is an experienced police officer,
with specific training and experience in drug enforcement.
Id. at 4. The detective testified that he has worked
with this CI on or about two or three prior occasions, and
that the CI has been reliable in the past. Id. at
5-6. He also indicated that the CI had provided information
to other detectives about eight times. Id. at 5. In
every case that [ ] Detective Schwartz investigated using
this CI, the information was corroborated and led to arrests
and seizure of drugs. Id. at 6.
On November 23, 2015, Detective Schwartz met with this
particular CI to establish a plan. Id. at 6. The CI
informed that he had arranged a delivery of one pound of
marijuana from an individual named Pope. Id. He and
Pope met online and later spoke by phone, and the CI provided
the detective with this individual's cell phone number.
Id. The CI told Detective Schwartz that he believed
Pope was from the New York area. Id. at 7. The
detective was able to confirm that the cell phone number was
a New York number, but he was unable to identify it as having
come from a person named Pope. Id. at 21-22, 34. The
CI also believed that Pope would be traveling with a female
named Ava, or some variation of that. Id. All of the
CI's information came from the communication between the
CI and Pope.
They decided to do the controlled buy. The police had the CI
come down to the police department, and as per the usual
protocol with informants on controlled buys, the Cl's
person was searched to assure that no contraband or U.S.
currency was present on the Cl. Id. The police also
thoroughly searched the CI's vehicle for any contraband
or U.S. currency. Id. Neither search turned up
anything improper. Id. at 8. The CI was provided
with prerecorded U.S. currency of $3, 600, which had been
established as the going price from [sic] high-end marijuana
at that time. Id. at 8. Detective Schwartz
physically placed the $3, 600 into a black backpack and then
placed it in the trunk of the CI's vehicle for transport
to the scene. Id. at 8. The CI was instructed that
in the event that the person from New York delivered the
marijuana to him, he was to go to the trunk, retrieve the
money and get back into his vehicle. Id. at 8-9. It
was significant to this controlled buy that the backpack with
the money would be in the trunk because it was the signal to
law enforcement that the delivery transaction took place.
Id. at 8-9.
The CI never left the officers' presence. Id. at
9. The location of the drug transaction was to be at
Wendy's restaurant in Conshohocken, Plymouth Township.
Id. Several detectives established surveillance at
the meet location parking lot. Id. There were police
officers positioned across the street. Id. at 10.
Further, Detective Schwartz was in a position to view the
Cl's vehicle and Wendy's. Id. at 9.
The detective followed directly behind the CI from the police
station to meet location. Id. The CI did not do
anything he was not supposed to do. Id. at 9-10. The
CI did not make any stops on the way and no one other than
the CI was in the vehicle. Id. at 9. Detective
Schwartz arrived at the Wendy's parking lot and set up
surveillance. Id. at 10. There were two main
surveillance detectives, Detective Schwartz and Detective
Iran Millan from the Montgomery County Detective Bureau.
Once the CI was in the Wendy's the CI did not go to the
bathroom and the CI did not talk to anyone else. Id.
at 11. The CI did meet with the individual who was later
identified as [Appellant] inside the Wendy's.
Id. The individual arrived on foot empty-handed.
Id. at 12-13. The meeting was brief. Id. at
13. [Appellant] left the restaurant, and went back in the
direction where he had come from. Id. at 14.
[Appellant] returned a short time later carrying a black
backpack. Id. at 14. He got into the CI's
Less than three minutes after [Appellant] got into the
vehicle, the CI exited the vehicle and went to the trunk
where the backpack full of the prerecorded currency was
located. Id. at 15. After retrieving the money, the
CI got back into his vehicle. Id. The police waited
less than a minute so the transaction could be completed,
then they moved in and made the arrest. Id. at
15-16. At that time, the police found the marijuana with the
CI and the money with [Appellant]. Id. at 16-17
Detective Schwartz testified and explained that the CI's
safety would be jeopardized if the [c]ourt compelled the
disclosure of the CI's identity. Id. at 17-18.
Trial Court Opinion, filed 5/1/17, at 5-8.
filed a motion to suppress physical evidence on May 11, 2016.
Also contained therein was a motion to produce confidential
informant. A suppression hearing was held on January 17,
2017, and following the hearing, the suppression court denied
both Appellant's motion to suppress and his motion to
produce confidential informant in separate orders entered on
January 19, 2017.
stipulated non-jury trial was held on January 25, 2017, at
which time the testimony obtained at the suppression hearing
was incorporated and the trial court admitted the stipulated
bench trial colloquy. See N.T. Trial, 1/25/17, at
10. At the conclusion of trial, Appellant was found guilty of
the aforementioned offense and immediately sentenced as
previously indicated. Id. at 11. Appellant did not
file a post-sentence motion; however, he filed a timely
notice of appeal on February 22, 2017. On February 24, 2017,
the trial court entered its Order directing Appellant to file
a concise statement of the matters complained of on appeal
pursuant to Pa.R.A.P. 1926(b), and Appellant complied on
March 13, 2018, wherein he presented four claims for the
trial court's review.
appellate brief, Appellant sets forth the following Statement
of Questions Presented:
1. Whether [t]rial [c]ourt committed error by not ordering
Commonwealth to disclose the identity of a confidential
informant who was the only eyewitness to defendant being in
possession of controlled substance, and was only person with
knowledge of the content of ...