Commonwealth v. Boyd, PICS Case No. 14-0030 (C.P. Montgomery Dec. 27, 2013) Smyth, J. (22 pages).

COURTS OF COMMON PLEAS

The Legal Intelligencer

EVIDENCE

Prior Bad Acts • Admissibility • Drug Sales

Commonwealth v. Boyd, PICS Case No. 14-0030 (C.P. Montgomery Dec. 27, 2013) Smyth, J. (22 pages).

Three days after police conducted a surveilled, controlled drug purchase from defendant (and witnessed defendant selling cocaine to a third party), they executed a search warrant on the house from which defendant had conducted the transactions. The police discovered bags of heroin and crack cocaine on the premises and arrested defendant as he attempted to flee the scene.

Through cross-examination, and at closing, defendant's counsel tried to cast doubt on whether defendant had been properly identified as the seller involved in the controlled and uncontrolled buys, whether he resided at the house where the heroin and cocaine were found and whether he constructively possessed the drugs either together with the other inhabiting the apartment or otherwise.

The court found defendant guilty of possession of heroin and cocaine with intent to sell.

On appeal, defendant argued that the court erred in permitting the commonwealth to admit other "bad act" evidence - i.e., evidence of the controlled and uncontrolled buys of heroin and crack in the street near the house shortly before the house was searched and heroin and crack packaged in the same manner as that sold—because the probative value of admitting prior drug sales/purchases did not outweigh the unfair prejudice to defendant.

In its 1925(a) statement, the common pleas court suggested that the Superior Court affirm the judgment because the court properly admitted evidence of defendant's "prior bad acts" in the form of drug sales conducted out of the house in which police found more drugs packaged the same as those he had sold.

Under Pa.R.E. 404(b), evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts may be admitted for purposes such as proof of motive or identity upon a showing that the probative value of the evidence outweighs its potential for prejudice. Here, the evidence of defendant's prior "bad acts" of drug sales in the street was relevant to prove his identity as the possessor of the drugs found in the house.

Evidence of defendant's prior "bad acts" of drug sales in the street was relevant and admissible to prove his identity as the possessor of the drugs found in the house three days later. Judgment should be affirmed.