Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Friday, June 27, 2008

Woodard: Construction Possession does not require ownership

In U.S. v. Woodard, No. 06-16577 (June 27, 2008), the Court affirmed convictions for marihuana trafficking and gun possession
The Court rejected sufficiency of the evidence arguments, including an argument that a defendant possessed the gun not in furtherance of drug trafficking, but for protectin in a dangerous neighborhood. The jury could reasonably conclude otherwise, since the defendant was arrested after taking delivery of one hundred pounds of marihuana.
The Court rejected a challenge to the giving of an Allen charge, finding nothing coercive about the instruction.
The Court further rejected a challenge to the "constructive possession" jury instruction. The trial court was not required to instruct that "ownership, dominion, or control" over contraband was necessary to establish possession when it had instructed that "both the power and intention to later control" sufficed to prove constructive possession.