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Court Discusses Constructive Possession in Drug Case


The case before the court is one of appeal from a conviction of possessing more than five grams of marijuana. The appellant was charged with possessing more than five grams of marijuana (marijuana possession), possessing hashish, and possessing PCP. The appellant was acquitted for the possession of hashish and PCP charges.

Case Background

In April, officers executed a search warrant of the home that is owned by the appellant. The residence had been under surveillance for about a year before the warrant was issued. A New York Criminal Lawyer said that during that year the appellant had been seen coming and going from the house on several occasions.

During the execution of the warrant the appellant answered the door and was sat down by the officers. There were two other people living in the house with the appellant at the time the warrant was executed. They were both there during the execution of the warrant as well.

The officers found five grams of marijuana in an ash tray located on the coffee table in the living room, 54 grams in a cup inside the refrigerator, 826 grams in a beer dispenser in the kitchen, some in a coffee cup in the cabinet, several bags of seeds in the garage, a container of seeds in a kitchen cabinet and some more seeds were found in the family room at the bar.

In addition, a Suffolk County Criminal Lawyer said the search also turned up numerous paraphernalia including a mirror, strainer, razor, plastic bags, rolling papers, surgical clips, pipes, spoons, funnels, and a bottle of manitol, hashish, and 150 milligrams of PCP.

State’s Case

The state presented a prima facie case of constructive possession based on the fact that the defendant owned the home where the marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found. The situation at the home was not one where the three people shared the home as co-tenants or were roommates with equal rights. In this particular case the appellant owned the home outright and happened to have two people living with him. This leaves no doubt that the appellant had control over the premises.

Case Discussion and Decision

The court concludes that with all of the evidence that was found within the home it is sufficient to uphold the conviction of the appellant as made by the jury. However, there is still some question in this case that involves the issue of joint occupancy.

The question is should the owner be convicted of constructive possession in a case where illegal drugs are discovered in plain view and the premise is occupied by more than one person. The other question is whether or not each person that occupies the home should be convicted of constructive possession.

In this particular case the court finds that there has been sufficient evidence to show that the appellant was aware of the drugs inside his home and for this reason the court is confirming the judgment and the sentence that were made by the trial court.

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