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Defendant Appeals Criminal Weapons Conviction in New York Appellate Court


The defendant is appealing a judgment made by the Monroe County Court. The judgment found the defendant guilty of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree after he pled guilty to the crime.

Case Background

The defendant is appealing a judgment that convicted him of criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree after he entered a plea of guilty for the crimes.

The defendant contends that the County Court made an error by refusing to suppress the handgun that he discarded when he was being pursued by the police and his subsequent statements to the police because the police lacked reasonable suspicion to justify the pursuit.

At the suppression hearing the People presented evidence that police officers and a federal law enforcement agent were patrolling various areas of the city that are known for gang activities as a way to reduce gun violence.

The officers were travelling in an unmarked cargo van that was followed by an unmarked SUV. Each officer was wearing a vest with police markings.

Just after midnight the officers saw the defendant and two other men standing on a street corner in an area that according to police was known for recent armed robberies and violent gang activity. The driver of the van pulled up just past the three men and rolled down his window and told them that they needed to leave the area.

According to the passengers in the van the defendant reached for his waistband and started to walk away from the other two men. A short time later the defendant started to run. The police followed the defendant and at some point during the chase they discovered a discarded handgun.

Case Discussion

The court concludes that the officers had reason to approach the three men on the street corner and to request information. However, there was no justification to support the pursuit of the defendant.

As the pursuit is found to be unjustified, the evidence from the pursuit should have been suppressed.

The court did make an error by allowing this evidence to be used in the case against the defendant. The motion by the defendant to suppress should have been granted as the pursuit and subsequent evidence was not supported.

Court Decision

The judgment that is being appealed from is reversed on the law. The plea is vacated and the portions of the motion seeking to suppress tangible property and statements are granted. The indictment is dismissed and the matter will be remitted to the Monroe County Court for further proceedings. The defendant is appealing a judgment made in the County Court of Albany County. The judgment convicted the defendant of the crime of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree.

Case Background

The defendant sold a controlled substance to an informant at an apartment located in the city of Albany. The police then obtained a search warrant for the apartment. When searching the apartment the police found a handgun and some marijuana.

The defendant was charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, criminal possession of stolen property in the fourth degree, criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree and criminal sale of marijuana in the fourth degree.

The County Court granted a motion by the defendant to suppress the identification testimony made by the confidential informant as well as the evidence that was seized from the informant at the time of his arrest.

The County Court denied the motion by the defendant to suppress the evidence that was seized by from the apartment.

A jury trial was held and the defendant was convicted of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and was sentenced as second felony offender to a prison term of three and a half to seven years. The defendant is appealing the conviction and sentence.

Case Discussion

The defendant contends that his conviction is not supported by legally sufficient evidence and the verdict is against the weight of the evidence because the People did not establish that the constructively possessed the handgun.

Another resident of the apartment building testified during the trial that the defendant spent a substantial amount of time in the apartment where the gun was found. Police officers testified that they had seen the defendant entering and leaving the apartment on many occasions. This evidence was felt to be enough to establish that the defendant exercised control over the apartment.

In addition, DNA evidence that was taken from the gun matched the defendant. This offered proof that the defendant had at least handled the gun at some point in time.

The other argument brought up by the defendant is that the search warrant was not valid. However, the search warrant was executed in a proper fashion after the defendant sold a controlled substance to an informant.

Court Decision

The court has reviewed the arguments made by the defendant and finds them to be without merit. There was enough evidence supplied in the case to support the conviction.

In addition, the defendant states that his sentence was harsh and excessive. However, as the defendant has an extensive criminal history, the sentence is found to be fair.

The previous judgment and sentencing made by the jury during the trial of the defendant is affirmed. The appeal is denied in its entirety.

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