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Jury Verdict Affirmed On Gun Case Even Though Police Found Defendant Unarmed

The defendant was charged and convicted by a Suffolk Superior Court jury of possession of a firearm in violation of G.L. c. 269 sec. 10(a).  On appeal he claimed that there lacked sufficient evidence to sustain the conviction.  The Massachusetts Appeals Court agreed and reversed the conviction.  The Supreme Judicial Court granted further appellate review and reversed the Appeals Court decision.  Commonwealth v. White, slip opinion August 11, 2008. 

The Court in White found the following facts.  The defendant and others were engaged in a gun fight in Jamaica Plain in front of a laundromat and a car wash.  Once the shooting stopped a witness to the incident saw a black man hold a gun and place it into his pants.  The man was wearing a black jacket with white writing on it.  The police arrived and observed the defendant in the vicinity of the car wash.  He was wearing a jacket resembling the one identified by the witness.  He was unarmed at the time.  The witness made a positive identification of the man.  She never identified the firearm.  Police subsequently located a weapon concealed in an air vent in a hallway in the vicinity of where they first saw the defendant.  Another firearm was found on a street near the building. 

The Supreme Judicial Court found sufficient evidence to support the conviction.  It held that “circumstantial evidence is competent to establish guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,… and reasonable inferences may be drawn from the evidence.”  In spite of other reasonable inferences that could have been drawn here, i.e. the gun having been placed in the air vent by someone else in the fight or the other gun possibly being the defendant’s, the Court affirmed the conviction. 

Massachusetts Gun Cases

Under G.L. c.  269 sec. 10(a), the section under which this defendant was charged. the prosecution must proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant carried a firearm without license to carry and that he did so outside of his home or place of business.  A conviction for this offense carries with it a minimum mandatory eighteen month sentence.

Attorney Neyman has handled firearm cases throughout Massachusetts.  The statute is unforgiving.  People new to Massachusetts or visiting Massachusetts who are unaware of these laws can find themselves in need of a good Massachusetts firearms defense lawyer simply because they believed they were exercising a right to carry their gun.  If you have been charged with possession of a firearm in Massachusetts call our office now.

Related Web Resources:

Boston Globe Reports On Gun Court October 31, 2007

Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office Press Release On Gun Prosecutions