A man met some friends one afternoon and drove with them in his car to another friend’s house. There they all spent the night. The next morning, two of his friends asked him to drive them to an address in Queens where he was going to see a man about a job. The friend who owned the car agreed to drive his two friends to Queens.
During the drive to Queens, the driver/owner of the car observed and saw one of his friends in possession of a gun. He dropped off his two friends. Before drove away, one of his friends came back to the car, showed him the gun and told him that they were planning to rob the house. The driver/owner of the car drove away.
A few minutes after he drove away, he was accosted by police officers on the road just a short distance from the address where he dropped them off. He was asked by the police officers who stopped him if he knew the two men he dropped off. He said he knew them. He admitted that he had dropped them off. What he did not admit was that he knew that they had planned to rob the house where he dropped them off. He never told the police that he saw one of his friends in possession of a gun.
The driver and his friends were all charged. The driver was tried and convicted of robbery in the first degree and conspiracy in the fourth degree. He appealed his conviction on the grounds that he should not have been convicted as he had no knowledge of the plan to rob or of the robbery itself. At the trial, his two friends confirmed all that the driver gave in his statement to the police. Both the other defendants were certain that none of them told the driver/owner of the car that they were planning a robbery. Both the other defendants stated that they never discussed the robbery with the driver of the car.
The trial court entered a verdict and judgment against the driver. The driver appealed his conviction arguing that there is no sufficient evidence to support a finding of guilt. He also argued that his conviction came from an inference of the trial court judge.
The Supreme Court at the verdict and judgment of the Trial Court may be upheld only if when the finding of facts is reviewed, the guilt of the driver was proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Court concluded that the weight of the evidence does not support the Trial Court’s verdict. The Court held that the driver had been consistent in his statements. He denied from the very start that he knew anything about the robbery. Even if we were to believe that the driver saw one of his friends in possession of a gun or armed with a weapon, it cannot be inferred from mere possession of a gun that his friends were intending to commit armed robbery.
The persons who actually committed the armed robbery supported the driver’s claim of innocence. The driver testified at trial that he drove off immediately after he dropped off his friends and one of them told him that they were about to commit armed robbery. It was precisely his desire to have no part in the armed robbery that made him leave his friends there.
The Supreme Court found that under the circumstances, the People failed to prove the driver’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. His conviction is overturned.
Have you given a ride to friends and not know that they were in possession of a gun at that time? Were you charged for armed robbery along with them as a conspirator? You must go to Stephen Bilkis and Associates. Whether you have been involved with a gun crime, drug possession or sex crimes, they will provide you with a free consultation and sound legal guidance.