The accused was arrested while driving his car a short distance from the scene of a possession of a weapon crime. After his arrest, the accused made certain statements to police which were used against him at trial. According to the statements, the accused had previously made the acquaintance of an individual and had agreed with the individual to drive two of the individual’s friends to a location where one of them was seeking a job. According to the statements, the accused drove the individual and his two friends to a house in Merrick. There the accused dropped off the individual’s friends. The accused consistently denied any knowledge that the individual and his friends intended to commit a robbery at the location to which he had driven them. However, the accused did state to the police that he had observed that there was a criminal possession of a weapon by one of the men during the drive from Queens to Merrick.
The accused man’s own testimony at trial, as well as the testimony of the individual and his friend largely confirmed the content of the accused man’s post-arrest statement to the police. The accused testified that he had met the individual’s friends on July 18, and had driven them to a friend’s house the following evening. The following morning, he agreed to drive the three men to the house in Merrick. He dropped the three men off at that location, but then the individual returned to the car, informing him that his friends were about to rob the people in the house. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the accused testified, consistent with his post-arrest statements that he had not known that a robbery had been planned. However, his testimony was inconsistent with his prior statements to the extent that he testified that he had never told a police officer that he had seen a gun in the car during the trip from Queens.
The individual testified that he had requested that the accused drive him and his two friends to Merrick. According to the individual, no one said anything to the accused concerning the true reason for the trip. The individual testified that after he and the other two men had gotten out of the car upon their arrival in Merrick, he noticed one of his friends take out a gun, at which point he returned to the accused man’s car, informed him of the robbery which was about to occur, and urged the accused to drive away. The individual insisted that the accused knew nothing about the robbery prior to it being committed.
One of the individual’s friend also testified that he never discussed the forthcoming gun crime with the accused. A Long Island Criminal Lawyer said the friend confirmed that the individual returned to the accused man’s car as soon as one of them produced a handgun. The individual’s friend’s credibility was impeached with proof that he had made a prior statement to the police that all four men, including the accused had discussed the robbery.
There is legally sufficient evidence of the accused man’s guilt. Considering only the incriminating portions of the accused man’s pretrial statements, the Trial Court could rationally find that the accused had driven three men to a residence in Merrick, and had observed that they were armed with a weapon. There is also evidence from which the Trial Court could infer that the accused waited in his car for the return of the robbers even after he, by his own admission, had learned of their intentions.
Nevertheless, the court concludes that the weight of the evidence does not support the Trial Court’s verdict. The accused consistently denied that he knew anything about the robbery until after he had driven the perpetrators to the scene. Even if the court accept as true the accused man’s pretrial statement that, during the trip to Merrick, he observed that his companions made criminal possession of a weapon, and reject his trial testimony to the contrary, the inference that he knew that the gun was to be used in a criminal act does not necessarily follow. The accused man’s claim of innocence is supported by the testimony of two of the actual perpetrators. In their trial testimony, the individual and the accused maintained that they drove off immediately upon the individual’s return to the car. It is noted that the individual and his friend exculpated the accused at their own plea allocutions as well as in their testimony at his trial. Also, the individual’s friend’s extra-judicial statement to the effect that the accused was included in discussions concerning the forthcoming robbery was admissible only to impeach the witness’s credibility, and may not be considered as evidence in chief.
Sometimes giving a friend a favor or trusting a complete stranger brings us trouble. This is also the reason why people keep away from doing good deeds. If you find yourself accused of gun possession, sex crimes or theft, feel free to call the Nassau County Possession of a Weapon Lawyers at Stephen Bilkis and Associates. When gun possession accusation leads to crime, consult a Nassau County Criminal Attorney.