Federal Drug Crime Massachusetts Violation 21 USCS 841 Attorney
United States v. Mathew
A jury convicted defendant for the crime of possession of drug with intent to distribute, in violation of 21 U.S.C.S. § 841(a)(1). Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction on grounds of insufficient evidence to prove possession. The conviction for possession could stand only if a reasonable jury could find that defendant did possess the cocaine within the meaning of 21 U.S.C.S. § 841. There was no evidence that he even touched the bag or saw the cocaine or that he was ever alone in the room with it or that he had a practical opportunity to remove it from the hotel. Under settled law, possession included not merely the state of immediate, hands-on physical possession but also constructive possession, including possession through another, and joint as well as exclusive possession.
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The Massachusetts Court made the following holding:
- Under settled law, possession includes not merely the state of immediate, hands-on physical possession but also constructive possession, including possession through another, and joint as well as exclusive possession. Further these concepts can be combined so that, for example, joint constructive possession is quite as bad as having the drugs exclusively in one’s own pocket. These concepts of constructive and joint possession are almost uniformly reflected in both decisions and in standard instructions.
- Constructive possession is commonly defined as the power and intention to exercise control, or dominion and control, over an object not in one’s actual possession.
- The location of drugs or firearms in a defendant’s home or car is a common basis for attributing possession to the defendant. This is so even if the residence or room is shared by others.
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These summaries are provided by the Gilmore & Sris Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The Original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.