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Defendant Challenges Jury Instructions


The defendant is appealing a judgment made by the County Court of Tompkins County. The judgment found the defendant guilty of the crime of criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree.

Case Background

A joint investigation by the Ithaca Police Department and the State Police led to the defendant’s residence being searched. During the search the officers found a nine millimeter handgun and magazine containing seven rounds of ammunition located inside a backpack that was in the bedroom on the second floor. The officers also found several identification documents in the bedroom including the defendant’s social security card, a county benefit card, and several phone cards.

The defendant offered a written statement to the police denying that the gun was his and claimed that it belonged to someone that was staying at the house. He stated that the gun had been present in the home for a couple of weeks. He did admit that he was the one that put it in the backpack.

The defendant had previously been convicted of a crime and was indicted for criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. The jury rejected the defensive claim that the defendant was in temporary and lawful possession of the handgun.

Case Discussion and Decision

The defendant claims that the language used in the instruction of the jury rendered the charges that were made against him unduly restrictive. The court does not agree.

There was enough evidence provided in the case to support the jury conviction of the defendant. The previous conviction and sentence is affirmed and the appeal is denied.

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