Felony Drug Charges Appear Excessive for Norwood Couple After Cape Arrest

December 31, 2013

images.jpgThe Truro Police stopped and arrested Lawrence and Susan Pandolfo of Norwood as they drove on Route 6 in Truro last Friday afternoon. According to the Cape Cod Community News an officer - traveling in the opposite direction -- thought they were speeding, turned around, and pulled them over. Both of the Pandolfos provided valid driver's licenses. Because Lawrence had recently purchased the car, however, the registration was not in order and the car had to be towed.

With the assistance of back-up officers, the Pandolfos were then frisked for weapons. The Community News article does not give any explanation as to why these two had to be frisked. Nor can I imagine one. Equally inexplicable was the subsequent search of Ms. Pandolfo's purse. Inside they found an "envelope containing an undisclosed quantity of $20 bills." So far, we have a couple in a car that may have been speeding without a valid registration while in possession of money.

An "inventory" search of the car, however, turned up open containers of alcohol, prescription pills, an "undisclosed amount of marijuana," narcotics (6 brown cubes) "packaged for sale," two pipes, and some bottles and cans of alcohol. All that certainly makes things look worse, but it does not appear to support the criminal charges -- Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Distribute; Possession of Class B Substance With Intent to Distribute; and Possession of Class C Substance With Intent to Distribute.

Since no one was offering anything for sale, the prosecution will have to look elsewhere for proof that either or both of the Pandolfos intended to sell anything. That proof not only appears to be lacking, but much of the evidence points in the opposite direction. In fact, I would argue that the recovered evidence is more indicative of a party than a sales mission.

It was Friday afternoon (pay day) between Christmas and New Years and Ms. Pandolfo had twenties in an envelope. Not tens, fives, ones, or a combinations consistent with low level drugs sales. The prosecution may speculate about whether the twenties were from one larger level sale but that amounts to nothing. A connection between the drugs and the money is non-existent. If this case goes the way it should, the Pandolfos should be prepared to file a motion for return of the money.

The volume of drugs does not necessarily indicate an intent to sell either. There were six hard cubes of a Class B substance. The article does does not say how big the cubes were, just that they were "packaged for sale." There is no distinction, however, between something that is packaged for sale and something that is packaged for purchase. If someone buys something that had been packaged by a seller, that is how it is going to look, right?

As for the prescription pills, it is not even clear at this point whether the Pandolfos had a valid prescription. There is no law against taking your medication out of the marked bottles and combining them into a single bottle. And even if they did not have prescriptions, just having them does not mean they were for sale.

There were three individually wrapped bags of an undisclosed amount of marijuana. If it were large bags of marijuana, I'm sure that the police would have portrayed them as such. I have a suspicion that the amount recovered weighed less than an ounce and as such was not even criminal to possess.

Tellingly, the police found empty and full containers of alcohol and two pipes. Again, entertainment or enterprise?

There are other issues for defense counsel to explore vigorously. Was the stop and were the searches constitutionally permissible? Are both parties equally guilty? Having the same name and being in the same place is not enough.

If you have been charged with a crime involving drugs, or any other crime, you should have your case evaluated by an experienced criminal defense attorney. I have been defending criminal cases for over 20 years, so I am well prepared to assist you.

Please call any time and arrange a free consultation.
Office - 781 461 4590
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Email gvs@stcyrlaw.com

Thank you.

The facts used in this blog were obtained solely from the cited source(s). There may be additional information that would alter the analysis.