PITTSFIELD -- Six gun and drug charges filed against a North Adams man whose apartment was illegally searched by police in February were dismissed in Berkshire Superior Court on Wednesday.
The Berkshire District Attorney's office asked the court to dismiss the charges against 30-year-old David J. Rosander shortly before a hearing on a defense lawyer's motion was about to take place.
North Adams police allege they found 22 grams of cocaine, marijuana and an illegal handgun in Rosander's Hoosac Street apartment when they entered his home on Feb. 10 without a warrant.
According to police, they entered the apartment to perform a "protective sweep" after responding to the scene for a report that a woman had been hit by Rosander during a dispute over a parking space.
Lawyers for Rosander contended that three women from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts parked a car in Rosander's spot and he blocked them in with his vehicle in order to call a tow truck to have their car removed. The women later pushed their way into Rosander's apartment and he pushed them back out, closed the door and called the police. One of the women smashed a glass window in the apartment's door as she left, according to the attorneys.
While in the apartment, North Adams Police and an MCLA security officer allegedly found a loaded Smith & Wesson M&P .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun, several boxes of ammunition, 13 baggies of cocaine, narcotics packaging materials and marijuana.
Rosander's attorneys, Lee D. Flournoy and Jennifer L. Galvagni, alleged that the police rummaged through cabinets, removed items from shelves, dug inside the furniture and went through Rosander's laundry.
On Wednesday in Berkshire Superior Court, Rosander and his attorneys appeared before Judge John A. Agostini for a hearing on the defendant's motion to dismiss, but the DA's Office had already made the decision not to go forward with charges related to the search of the apartment.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Gregory M. Barry conceded the evidence was seized improperly. He asked that single counts of trafficking in cocaine, possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, illegal ownership of a firearm, possession of ammunition without a license and improper storage of a firearm be dismissed.
Galvagni told New England Newspapers "the search conducted in this case was unlawful. The Commonwealth, in a careful decision everyone can be proud of, especially on this day, honored the Constitution and decided that there was no basis to argue against suppression."
A single count of misdemeanor assault and battery was continued without a change of plea for six months by the judge, in line with an agreement between the DA's Office and the defense attorneys. In this type of disposition the defendant does not admit any guilt.
If Rosander stays out of trouble for six months the charge will be dismissed.
According to Galvagni, her client is a combat veteran who did two tours in Iraq with the Army, "one seeking high-value targets immediately after the invasion," and on his second tour suffered a traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder due to mortal fire.
She said that while the charges facing her client were very serious, the gun didn't belong to him and the "drug charges stem in significant part" from the trauma he suffered during his military service.
"Mr. Rosander's fair treatment by the Commonwealth and the courts today is a huge boost to his efforts [to recover his daily functioning skills and his emotional health]," she said.