A juvenile is appealing adjudications made against him that found him guilty of possession of cocaine and marijuana. A New York Criminal Lawyer said he states that the trial court erred when they denied his motion for judgment of acquittal when the state had failed to present substantial evidence to prove constructive possession of the contraband.
During the adjudicatory hearing there was testimony that revealed that the defendant along with a friend asked another person for a ride to a woman’s house to pick up some items. The defendant rode in the back of the individual’s truck. The defendant and his friend got out of the truck at the house. The young men did not know that the house was under surveillance.
A police officer had received a call from an informant who told him that there were guns and narcotics stored at the home. The officer watched as the defendant entered the house and the friend waited on the porch outside. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the defendant came out of the house with a black duffel bag and a white lock box. These items were placed in the back of the truck and the two males got back into the truck and left.
The officer initiated a stop of the truck and obtained permission to search the truck. He found the bag and the lock box. The bag was open and he saw an empty holster inside of it. The lock box had a lock on it and no one claimed ownership of the box.
A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said search warrant was obtained and the box was opened. Inside the box there were 988 grams of marijuana and 5 grams of cocaine.
The defendant was then told his rights. He told the police officer that he had taken some guns inside the house because they were concerned that they were being watched by police because another one of their friends had been served with a search warrant. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer stated that he did not know what was in the box, but that he suspected that it might contain marijuana.
Case Discussion and Decision
When the state rested the defendant motioned for a judgment of acquittal. This was denied and the juvenile was charged with possession of both marijuana and cocaine. We believe that the state did present sufficient evidence in regard to the possession of marijuana charge and that is affirmed. The admission of the defendant that he thought the box might contain marijuana was enough to confirm this particular verdict.
The state failed to establish that the defendant had knowledge of the fact that there was cocaine in the box. The officer testified that he never saw the defendant open the box and for this reason it is impossible to determine whether he had knowledge of the cocaine. For this reason, the charge of possession of cocaine is reversed.
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