Notable Decisions and Other News

Decisions

Gun and Drug Conviction Reversed as Against the Weight of the Evidence

07/13/2016

At Shuaib Oneill’s trial, the arresting officer and his partner testified that they saw Mr. Oneill and another man walking down the street wearing bandanas or masks over their faces.  The arresting officer claimed that, after approaching the men, he was standing “right next to the defendant shining a flashlight on his hands” when the defendant threw a bag of marijuana on the ground.  The arresting officer handcuffed the defendant and found a gun on him. 

The arresting officer did not mention the arrest in his memo book, call in the arrest, or voucher the bandanas or masks.  The defendant’s signed Miranda waiver was lost. The defendant took the stand and denied possessing either the gun or the marijuana.  He and his friend both denied wearing bandanas or masks.  The defendant admitted that he had provided a written statement – that he found the gun in a bathroom and carried it around “just to see what it f[elt] like” – but said that the arresting officer had told him what to write and had said he would be free to leave after signing the statement. 

The defendant had no prior arrests and had been working for the same employer for seven years.  Three character witnesses testified to his truthfulness at trial, and no evidence was elicited to undermine his credibility.  The defendant’s friend also had no arrests and a stable employment history. 

The Second Department held that the defendant’s conviction was against the weight of the evidence and dismissed the indictment.  

Patricia Pazner briefed and argued the case on behalf of Appellate Advocates.