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Commonwealth v. Forsythe
Superior Court of Pennsylvania
August 16, 2019
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA Appellant
TERENCE DWIGHT FORSYTHE Appellee
from the Order Entered March 1, 2016 In the Court of Common
Pleas of Lycoming County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: LAZARUS, J., STABILE, J., and DUBOW, J.
matter is before the Court on remand from the Pennsylvania
Supreme Court for reconsideration in light of the Supreme
Court's decision in Commonwealth v. Hlubin, 208
A.3d 1032 (Pa. 2019). Upon review, we reverse the order
granting Appellee's motion to suppress and remand for
trial court summarized the relevant trial testimony as
Detective Al Diaz's Testimony
Detective Al Diaz (Diaz) was a Lycoming County detective for
seven years. He was the coordinator of the Lycoming County
Narcotics Enforcement Unit (NEU). The NEU's function is
to arrest people for drug violations in Lycoming County.
There are full-time and part-time members of the unit.
Part-time members help when the NEU requests. Municipal
police officers are part-time members of the NEU. Each police
officer submits an application to the NEU. Each application
is signed by the chief of police in the officer's
jurisdiction. Municipal police officers are paid by their
municipalities for their work in the NEU. The municipalities
are reimbursed by the District Attorney's Office, [which]
receives money from the Pennsylvania Attorney General's
The NEU conducts interdiction roving patrols. [During these
patrols, ] law enforcement officers patrol areas where there
is drug activity and attempt to stem the flow of drugs.
"All those assigned [to a patrol] drive around looking
for narcotics activity." If a police officer wants to
stop a vehicle while on patrol, he or she has the authority
to [do so]. . . . The NEU conducts interdiction patrols
because there is "a really terrible drug problem in the
On June 3, 2015, the NEU conducted an interdiction roving
patrol. In order to conduct the patrol, Diaz requested the
aid of law enforcement officers [from] other departments.
Sergeant Chris Kriner (Kriner) of the Old Lycoming Township
Police Department was among those requested to aid in the
patrol, which was set up by Detective Michael Simpler of the
Lycoming County District Attorney's Office. The patrol
included individuals from the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, the
Williamsport Bureau of Police, the Old Lycoming Township
Police Department, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and
Parole, and the Lycoming County Probation Office. The
officers were briefed before participating in the roving
patrol. They were instructed to target certain areas. During
briefings, Diaz sometimes [gave] the officers specific
individuals to target, but he did not mention the Defendant
or Cody Yearick (Yearick) during the June 3, 2015 briefing.
After the June 3 briefing, "everyone went out to conduct
Sergeant Chris Kriner's Testimony
Sergeant Kriner has been a police officer with the Old
Lycoming Township Police Department for 15 years. He has been
a member of the NEU since 2001, and he has about 15 years of
experience in conducting drug investigations. He assists
members of the NEU in conducting drug investigations.
The NEU requested Kriner's assistance with a roving drug
interdiction patrol that it was planning for  June 3, 2015.
He was assigned to the patrol "through the Old Lycoming
Township Police Department." He was "made
aware" of the date and time of the patrol and the
location of the briefing. The briefing was held on June 3,
2015 at approximately 3:00 p.m. in the conference room of the
Old Lycoming Township Police Department, and the briefing
lasted 30 to 45 minutes. Kriner was not given any specific
information about the Defendant or Yearick during the
Kriner "went out" immediately after the briefing.
He was in full uniform in an unmarked police vehicle with
Chief William Solomon (Solomon) of the Old Lycoming Township
Police Department. As part of the interdiction, Kriner is
given general police powers throughout Lycoming County. He
was patrolling the Interstate[-] 180 corridor, and he was
looking for indications of drug use, buying, and dealing.
Kriner's duties took him outside of his jurisdiction.
Shortly before 8:00 p.m. on June 3, 2015, Kriner was
patrolling the area of the Weis Market on West Third Street
in Williamsport. This area is not in the Old Lycoming
Township Police Department's jurisdiction. Rather, it is
in the jurisdiction of the Williamsport Bureau of Police.
Based on the police reports and interviews with criminal
defendants, Kriner believes the area is a high-crime area. He
has received complaints of drug use and drug trafficking in
the area. He has also made arrests for drug trafficking in
As Kriner was driving through the Weis Market's parking
lot, he saw a green Chevy Blazer parked in the lot. Two men
quickly exited the vehicle and went into the store. Kriner
checked for information on the vehicle and learned that it
was registered to an individual with an address in
Mifflinburg, Union County. From his training and experience,
Kriner knows that [many] drug users go to Williamsport to
purchase drugs. While the men were in the store, Kriner
observed that the vehicle's windows were down, its keys
were in the ignition, and cell phones were inside the
vehicle. The men exited the store several minutes after they
entered. They were looking around, and Kriner believed that
they were looking for him and Solomon.
One man sat in the Blazer's driver seat; the other man
sat in the passenger seat. When the vehicle exited the
parking lot, Kriner began to follow it. Kriner thought it was
"probable that [the men] may have been involved in drug
activity." At the intersection of Market Street and West
Third Street in Williamsport, it was apparent that the
Blazer's license plate light was out. Kriner does not
remember if the police car's headlights were on.
The Blazer . . . proceeded east on Interstate 180. Kriner
followed the vehicle into Loyalsock Township, which is not in
Old Lycoming Township Police Department's jurisdiction.
Kriner stopped the vehicle because the registration plate
light was not operating. After the vehicle stopped, Kriner
saw the passenger move around and twist his body. Kriner
talked with [Forsythe, ] the vehicle's passenger[.]
Solomon talked with the driver,  Yearick. After talking
with [Forsythe], Kriner talked with Yearick. Based on the
interviews of [Forsythe] and Yearick, [Forsythe] was ...
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