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Defendant Contends Court Has Insufficient Evidence to Sustain a Drug Conviction

The appellant in this case is seeking to have his conviction reversed. He was convicted of possession of marijuana. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the question before the court is whether or not the evidence in the case is enough to sustain the conviction.

Case Background

At the time the appellant was charged with the offense he was a college student and had a female companion who was also a student. He frequently visited the female companion’s apartment, sometimes during the evening and sometimes he stayed the night.

An informant gave police officers a tip and the officers obtained a search warrant for the apartment. When the search warrant was executed the police found the female sunbathing. They searched through the rooms of the apartment and found marijuana in her bedroom (marijuana possession), on top of the freezer, and in a plastic bottle. The officers found young marijuana plants growing in milk jugs and in a potato chip container in the backyard.

The appellant was not at the apartment at the time these things were found and seized, but there was evidence that he frequently visited the apartment.

A Bronx Criminal Lawyer said the witness that testified about the appellant’s visits stated that there would often be periods of two weeks when he did not come to the apartment. Both the appellant and the woman were tried and convicted during the same trial. However, the only concern before the court is whether there is enough evidence to support the appellant’s conviction.

Case Evidence

The potato chip can that had a marijuana plant growing in it had a finger print of the appellant. The State claims that the fingerprint paired with the appellant’s frequent visits to the apartment are enough evidence to show that he was in possession of marijuana. However, it is unclear whether the appellant is charged with possessing the marijuana in the potato chip can, the other plants that were found, or any of the marijuana and paraphernalia that was found inside the home.

There is ample evidence found to sustain the conviction of the female companion. She owned the apartment and was thus in control of the contents found inside of it.

Court Discussion and Decision

The appellant was simply a visitor to the apartment so his case must be looked at differently. The State laws have made it clear that simply visiting a home where there is contraband does not provide sufficient proof for possession.

The state argues that the fingerprint on the potted plant is enough proof in this case. However, the only thing that this really proves is that the appellant knows there was a plant in the apartment. There is no evidence that he even knows what a marijuana plant looks like.

For this reason, the court finds that there is not sufficient evidence to uphold the possession charge against the appellant. The conviction is reversed and the case against the appellant is dismissed.

Stephen Bilkis & Associates have law offices throughout New York City. We provide free consultations to each of our clients when they visit one of our offices for the first time, whether you have been charged with theft, drug possession or sex crimes. Contact us today to speak with a qualified attorney regarding any legal issue that you may have.

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