Appellant Jermaine Porter was adjudicated delinquent for being a minor in possession of a handgun and was committed to the
Appellant Jermaine Porter was adjudicated delinquent for being a minor in possession of a handgun and was committed to the Department of Youth Services. On appeal, Porter challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the trial court’s decision. We affirm.
LAYTON ROAF, J.
Little Rock Police Officer Beth McNair testified that she stopped a vehicle with no license plate on the evening of May 23, 2002. Porter was a passenger in the vehicle and was sitting in the back seat on the passenger side. Porter’s cousin was the driver of the vehicle, and his uncle was in the front passenger seat. As McNair approached the vehicle, she testified that she observed Porter reaching toward the floor with his left hand. McNair told Porter to keep his left hand where she could see it. As McNair shined her flashlight into the vehicle, she testified that she saw a handgun on Porter’s left shoe and that the barrel of the gun was pointing toward her. McNair drew her weapon and alerted her assisting officer that there was a gun.
Officer Robert Ball testified that he assisted McNair with the traffic stop. Ball stated that he was standing near the trunk on the driver’s side of the vehicle when he heard McNair yell “Gun.” Ball drew his weapon and came to the passenger side of the vehicle, where he saw that Porter had his hand near his shin and that there was a gun lying on top of Porter’s foot. Porter was then taken into custody. McNair testified that the gun was a Ruger .357 revolver, which was loaded. Another weapon was found in plain view in the floorboard of the front passenger seat.
Porter testified that his cousin and his uncle had picked him up at a hotel and that they were taking him to his sister’s house. Porter stated that he had only been in the car for approximately five minutes when it was stopped, that he did not know that there were any guns inside the vehicle, and that the gun found near his foot was not his. He also denied that he bent over and reached toward the floor, and he testified that there was nothing touching his foot. Porter admitted that the gun may have been found near his foot but explained that it probably “slid back there” from underneath the seat when they were driving up some steep hills.
1. Identify the two elements of constructive possession discussed by the court.
2. List the five factors the court identifies that can prove possession in joint occupancy cases.
3. Match the facts of the case to the five factors you listed in (2).
4. Assume you’re the prosecutor. Argue that Porter actually and constructively possessed the handgun. Back up your arguments with facts in the case.
5. Assume you’re the defense attorney. Argue that Porter did not actually or constructively possess the gun.
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