Gun Conviction Vacated: Verdict Was Against Weight of the Evidence
The Appellate Division, Second Department vacated Mr. Joyner’s conviction for second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, finding the guilty verdict was against the weight of the evidence. Mr. Joyner will be released immediately.
At Mr. Joyner’s trial, the People argued that Mr. Joyner had discarded a gun when a party he was attending was raided by the police. An undercover officer testified that he saw Mr. Joyner throw something against a window, and that this object “bounced” off the window, back into Mr. Joyner’s hands. Then, the officer said he saw Mr. Joyner put this object by an air conditioner. The officer later retrieved a gun from that spot. This same officer had seen a different person at the party carrying a gun in a holster. After the police raid, this person was detained. He no longer had a gun, just an empty holster. Nonetheless, he was not arrested.
The Appellate Division found the undercover officer’s testimony unreliable and incredible and found that the evidence did not establish Mr. Joyner’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Additionally, the court noted that Mr. Joyner was deprived of a fair trial because of the introduction of inflammatory photographs, inappropriate comments by the prosecutor in summation, and inappropriate cross-examination of the Mr. Joyner.
Lauren Jones briefed and argued the case.