From Philly.com via BCND:
It looked like an open-and-shut case. A cop pulls over a car, walks up to the driver's door, and sees a plastic baggy of marijuana. He brings in a drug-sniffing dog to prove probable cause for a search, gets a warrant, and finds a kilo of weed in the trunk.Full story here.
That's what Officer Steven Lupo put in his report and testified to in Philadelphia Municipal Court.
Then defense attorney Michael Diamondstein produced the video.
Turned out reality was different.
The video taken from nearby surveillance cameras contradicted key facts in Lupo's report and sworn testimony. Most crucially, Lupo and an unidentified supervisor are seen rummaging through the trunk hours before a warrant was issued. On the witness stand just moments before the video was played, Lupo emphatically denied that had occurred.
After Lupo's testimony was compared against the video, Judge Lydia Y. Kirkland tossed out the case.
Philadelphia's internal affairs investigators are now probing Lupo's conduct, and he will no longer be used as a witness in criminal cases, law enforcement sources said.
The defendant with two pounds of illegal marijuana is free, and defense attorneys say the Lupo video shows what their clients often tell them: Police frequently fudge the facts on the stand.
"I can just tell you from my experience," said veteran defense attorney Diamondstein, "in the majority of cases, while the clients may not deny having narcotics, in the vast majority of cases the circumstances surrounding the arrest did not happen as it was described in the paperwork or in court."