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"Constructive Possession" Sufficient to Show Possession of Marijuana

There was sufficient evidence to support the defendant’s convictions of possession with intent to deliver less than five kilograms of marijuana and felony-firearm. Also, he failed to show that he was denied a fair trial.

The case arose from the execution of a search warrant at defendant’s residence. After receiving an anonymous tip, police officers arranged a controlled drug buy at his home using a CI. On appeal, he asserted that the prosecution did not prove that he possessed a controlled substance. While the prosecution did not prove that he actually physically possessed the marijuana, there was ample evidence to show constructive possession. Officers found the confiscated drugs in a mason jar, which was in a bedroom in defendant’s house. The drugs were in the same room as defendant’s infant son and his guns. A digital scale was recovered from his barbershop in the basement of his home; it had marijuana residue on it. Defendant testified that “only he and his children lived at the house, and that only one or two people could come in and out of his house without his permission.” On cross-examination, he testified that he “just [doesn’t] let anybody come in and out of [his] house,” that he “know[s] exactly who comes in and out of [his] house” and “barbershop, and that he controls what happens in his house.” Further, his physical description matched the description of the individual who sold marijuana to the CI two days before the officers executed the warrant. Also, defendant’s testimony that “the marijuana belonged to his father did not preclude a finding of possession because the prosecution did not need to prove that defendant owned the marijuana.”

As to the felony-firearm conviction, the guns were in his bedroom with his infant child, and they were in “plain view within three feet of the bed.” He testified that he owned the guns, and “the Michigan State Police Automated Pistol Registration System indicated that the pistols had been registered in his name since 2009.” He also had a receipt for the assault rifle that showed its original purchase date in 2003. These records, combined with the location of the guns in the bedroom, indicated that defendant had both control of the weapons and proximity to them. Thus, a rational jury could find that he constructively possessed the guns. Affirmed.

People v. King

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