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Defendant Contends Government Relying on Hearsay Evidence


The appellant in this case was convicted for possession and use of a gun. This conviction was based on a statement from a witness that the defendant possessed an identical gun that he typically kept in his home in another state.

Case Background

The defendant was arrested in March of 1990. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms had tracked him from his home in Missouri to Texas. The agents watched him for a few days and acquired evidence to identify him as the buyer of a large amount of drugs. After concluding that the defendant had completed the purchase and was going to leave Texas with the drugs the agents alerted the local police. The police pulled him over and found 30 pounds of marijuana (marijuana possession) in the trunk of the car and a pistol in a sock on the floorboard behind the driver’s seat.

The gun matched a gun that was described to the agent at the apartment in Missouri. The government contends that the witness that was encountered while searching the apartment of the defendant told the officer that the defendant owned a gun and described the gun to the officer. The gun that was described matches the gun that was found.

A New York Criminal Lawyer said the defendant was indicted for being a felon in the knowing possession of a firearm, possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, and using a firearm in conjunction with a drug trafficking crime.

The defendant moved before trial to exclude the government’s use of certain evidence, including the statement by the witness describing the gun, as a result of the search of his home. The court agreed to allow the government to touch on the issue of the gun and how it had been described but could not go into all the details.

A Bronx Criminal Lawyer said the witness that was in the apartment stated that she knew the defendant had a gun, but that it was not found in the apartment. The officer testified about what he had been told by the witness. The witness from the apartment did not appear in court.

Court Discussion and Decision

The government relied heavily on inadmissible hearsay evidence in this case. The evidence provided to the officers that searched the apartment from the woman should not have been allowed. For this reason the convictions for possession of a firearm and passion of a firearm in conjunction with a drug trafficking crime must be reversed.

The court finds that there was not enough evidence to support the convictions for the firearm charges. The court does affirm the other charges made against the defendant and the sentences for the current charges will be sustained.

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