Former Whitpain Police Officer Gerald Schwartz, 46, of Philadelphia, was found not guilty on all charges relating to a August 2011 Whitemarsh incident, in which he was accused of driving under the influence and physically harassing his wife following a dispute in a local bar.
“Gerry is very happy that it’s over, and we got the right result,” said Schwartz’s attorney Edwin Guyer, of Blue Bell. “This was a year and a half of stress for him, and we’re so glad that it’s over.”
The verdict was handed down on Feb. 21, after a bench trial with Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Joseph A. Smyth.
According to a previous Patch article, Schwartz, was charged after an alleged dispute with his wife on the 500 block of Bethlehem Pike, during which his wife dialed 9-1-1.
When officers from the Whitemarsh Police Department arrived to the scene, they described Schwartz as being visibly intoxicated, and a blood test would later show that Schwartz had trace amounts of oxycodone in his blood stream, as well as a blood-alcohol content of .26 percent, which is more than three-times the legal limit in Pennsylvania.
Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Wallis Brooks, who prosecuted the case, said in a call to Patch that the not-guilty verdict occurred because prosecutors were not able to locate the harassment victim - Schwartz's wife - to testify in court. She was also the witness in the alleged drunk driving incident.
"Under those circumstances, it was an uphill battle for the Commonwealth," Brooks said. "We were unable to locate the essential witness in the case and, although we argued for conviction, we were unsuccessful."
Guyer did not respond on what this not guilty verdict meant for Schwartz’s employment with the Whitpain Police Department. Schwartz was relieved of his duty following a unanimous approval of a settlement and release agreement by the Whitpain Board of Supervisors in February of 2012.