Weapon Possession Conviction Reversed
The defendant, a 40 year-old father with no prior criminal record, was arrested after police officers found him alone in his car with two bullet wounds in his chest and an unloaded gun on the floor. He was charged with possessing a loaded weapon outside his home or place of business, a felony.
At his trial in Queens County, the court denied defense counsel’s request to submit a misdemeanor weapon possession count to the jury for their consideration.
Today, the Appellate Division held that the court should have let the jury consider the misdemeanor charge because there was a reasonable view of the evidence to support an inference that the defendant never possessed a loaded weapon outside of his home or place of business. Instead, he may have “shot himself in his home or place of business prior to entering his automobile.” If the jury had the option, therefore, it may have found him not guilty of felony weapon possession, and only guilty of misdemeanor weapon possession.
The court reversed the defendant’s conviction and ordered a new trial.
Allegra Glashausser briefed and argued the case.