Generally, in Pennsylvania constables are used to serve court papers and engage in other miscellaneous law enforcement activities. A constable is elected to office but must become state certified prior to engaging in the full realm of authorized activities. Like anyone else, constables will have to retain a criminal defense attorney and defend any criminal charges brought against them.
Recently in Northumberland County, authorities arrested a Sunbury constable on drug charges that allege that he provided a woman with fentanyl in September. The 32-year-old man was working his duties at a polling station on Nov. 7 when the police arrested him. Authorities say that they tried to reach him several times at his home but he did not respond.
The incident in question allegedly occurred on Sept. 7 when police were dispatched to a private residence on reports that a female may have overdosed. The officer who arrived at the scene has stated on court papers that he was greeted by the constable who directed him to the third floor of the building. The officer has attested that he found the woman with her face turning purple and her lips blue. Emergency responders were able to resuscitate the woman.
The police allege that the woman later told the officer that a “friend” provided the drug to her, but that on continued questioning she admitted that she got it from the constable. One question that may become central for criminal defense counsel will be whether the police officer was intimidating and/or overly suggestive in his questioning of the woman. If the identification by the woman does not hold up during court proceedings, the prosecution will not meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt pursuant to federal and Pennsylvania standards.
Source: dailyitem.com, “Sunbury constable arrested for allegedly providing fentanyl to woman“, Francis Scarcella, Nov. 7, 2017