The defendant was charged with several crimes and was found guilty for the commission of said crimes that included grand larceny, bribery receiving, official misconduct, and sale of illegal drug, criminal possession of stolen property and unlawfully disposing of a weapon. The accused who was a police officer, being accompanied by another individual, threatened a person that, if the latter did not turn over gun and money he owned, he will be arrested. It was also averred that the appellant took possession of marihuana from an individual whom he did not arrest and sold said marihuana to another. And lastly, it was contended that the indicted police failed to voucher a stolen revolver in his possession, but instead gave it to another without authority. Thus, an appeal was filed before the court to resolve the issue of his conviction to said crimes.
The issues of the appeal were the defendant’s indictment of possession of stolen property and unlawfully disposing the same and the crimes of sale of illegal drug. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the surrounding circumstances of the alleged felony was that the police officer asked another law enforcer, who was an undercover agent of the internal affairs, to keep the “throwaway gun” in his behalf for fear of his possible detention due to the investigations about his police activities being conducted at that time. Although evidence was presented to prove that the subject gun was a stolen property, it cannot show that the convicted police officer had knowledge of the fact that it was indeed a stolen gun. As provided in the statute, the indispensible element for the crime of criminal possession of stolen property was the actual knowledge of the accused that the gun in issue was a subject of theft. This was reiterated in the case of the Supreme Court, to wit “the gravamen of Criminal Possession of Stolen Property is possession of stolen property with knowledge of its stolen character. The element of knowledge of the stolen character of the property is essential.” As such, evidence must be presented before the jury to establish the element of knowledge of the stolen character of the gun by the defendant, otherwise, an indictment for that criminal offense may not stand. No direct evidence was shown to the grand jury to ascertain that the appellant had knowledge that the gun was stolen.
It was noted by the court that there was no instruction given to the jury for considering circumstantial evidence in relation to the crime in question. As decided in several jurisprudence, “the prosecutor wholly failed to instruct the jury as to the requirements of legal insufficiency in a circumstantial evidence case… the failure to instruct the jury on the standard to be applied deprives of legal significance the factual determination implicit in the indictment.”