THE KRUSHINSKI STORY
SIX MONTH SIMMERING SCANDAL
Sweinhart was charged with the possession and delivery of one ounce of cocaine to State Bureau of Drug Control agent Robert Roderick in the Luckee's Elbow Room parking lot on August 31, 1978. Sweinhart had an iron clad alibi and evidence revealed that Krushinski had paid Charles "Tex" Peffer $50 to accompany him on a "sale" that same night. It was a verdict of not guilty after jury deliberation for an hour and fifteen minutes.
It was the end of Krushinski's credibility as a prosecution witness. Although more and more evidence about Krushinski's criminal activities came to light with each successive trial, District Attorney Ronald Buckwalter refused to prosecute Krushinski or delay the trials until a thorough examination of the accusations against Krushinski could be made.
Since the Sweinhart trial, four defendants have been acquitted on entrapment defenses. Said Pyfer, "Any acquittal based on entrapment in Lancaster County is amazing. It's the hardest defense to establish."
The question of what constitutes entrapment in the case of a drug informant may be argued in front of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court as a result of the Krushinski cases. Testimony has revealed that in many cases Krushinski supplied the drugs then purchased for evidence. To Mecum, that is "entrapment by definition of the law. We have a situation where the informant not only provided the opportunity for the person to commit the criminal act of delivery - but also provided the very means of committing the offense."
It would set a precedent. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has never addressed this question, however, Mecum points out that four other state Supreme Courts have heard arguments on the question and ruled that it is entrapment by law.
These cases, which may well have cost the tax payers over a million dollars to date, will have a far reaching impact whether any appeals reach the Pennsylvania Supreme Court or not.
Gray believes it will lead to a better monitoring of drug cases in the future. Pyfer feels it will impose new guidelines on how informants are chosen. Mecum believes that it is "inherently immoral to use drug informants at all."
Another question raised by the cases is the matter of Krushinski's payment and amount. The State Bureau of Drug Control paid him on a commission basis - ten percent of the drug purchase price.
John OBrien, Special Agent for the Federal Drug Control Administration in Philadelphia, when asked if their informants are ever paid on a commission basis said, "Absolutely not. That would set up the possibility of all types of scams by the informant."
The publicity on October 5, 1978, the high praise of the police work, the large newspaper headlines; has ended in scandal. It has ended with very light sentences for those convicted, exceedingly light please bargain terms and an ever growing number of acquittals and cases being dropped. It's become a sham.
Will Krushinski ever be prosecuted? Krushinski, who testified through four sessions of court that he earned between $10,000 and $50,000 for a summer's "work." (We don't know if that includes the state's money he kept from the drug "sales," but it certainly would not include the hotel rooms the state allegedly rented for him, other expenses and the $100 a week he still receives from the state.)
If we are to judge by the D.A.'s actions to date, we must assume that Krushinski will walk away from this one. He played both sides of the coin and kept the coin besides.
We must question how much the D.A. cares about the due course of justice and how much he cares about saving face.
And we must wonder, as did Mecum, "If the law breaks the law, there in no law. And if the law breaks the law, are they immune?"
COMING LATER - A LOOK AT THE POLICE AND WHATEVER HAPPENED TO DANNY KRUSHINSKI?