A man made an appeal from a judgment convicting him of murder in the second degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree.
The court found that it was legally sufficient to establish the man’s guilt of murder in the second degree. Moreover, the court is also satisfied that the decision of guilt on that count was not against the weight of the evidence.
Based on records, the prosecution did not present legally sufficient evidence to support the conviction on the charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree. So, the court therefore vacates the sentence on the said count and the sentence imposed thereon.
Sources revealed that the prosecution’s theory on the charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree was that the man was in constructive possession of cocaine recovered from the pocket of his co-offender’s jacket, which was in the back seat of the victim’s car.
The man argues that it was legally insufficient to establish that he exercised control over either the area where the cocaine was found or his co-offender, and thus, was legally insufficient to establish that he was in constructive cocaine possession.
Under the circumstances, the Supreme Court properly refused to instruct the jury that mere presence at the crime scene was insufficient to establish criminal liability, since no reasonable view of the evidence supported charge.
Subsequently, the man’s remaining contentions are either unpreserved for appellate review or without merit. Finally, the court ordered to modify the decision by vacating the conviction of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, vacating the sentence imposed thereon, and dismissing that count of the indictment.
In another similar case, a man was also arrested along with his companion, as part of a buy and bust operation, after selling four vials of crack cocaine to an undercover police officer. The man was identified as the seller by the undercover officer immediately after the arrest, at the precinct house and in the court. He was also identified in court by the two arresting officers. Seized at the arrest site were 724 vials, at least 410 of which contained cocaine, 9 paper packets containing cocaine, and a bag containing marihuana. The vials were also matched to those sold to the undercover officer.
The officers also recovered from the man a $20 bill of prerecorded money and $1,570 in bills of various denominations. The $1,570 was in voucher, initialed by one of the officers, and evidence-stamped by him, but the serial numbers were not recorded, and the bills appeared in court in an envelope different than that in which they had been sent to the property clerk. The bills were also altered to the extent of having been perforated with the voucher number.
The man then correctly contends that the $1,570 in bills of various denominations should not have been admitted into evidence. But, the error was harmless in view of the evidence against him.
However, pursuant to the law, the conviction of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree must be vacated and that count of the indictment must be dismissed, in view of the conviction of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree for the same offense.
Consequently, the man’s remaining contentions are unpreserved for appellate review. Finally, the court ordered to modify the decision by reversing the conviction of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, vacating the sentence imposed thereon, and dismiss that count of the indictment. Further, court affirms the decision.
It is stressing for any parent to find out that her/his children were involved in a drug related crime. If you have such dilemma and you want to extend your help to your love one, you can seek legal assistance from the Kings County Drug Crime Lawyer. Furthermore, you can also ask for your legal options from the Kings County Criminal Attorney at Stephen Bilkis and Associates.