In a recent case coming out of a Virginia court, the defendant failed to successfully appeal his conviction of firearm possession. Originally, a trial court found that the defendant knowingly possessed a 9-mm handgun in his bedroom; on appeal, the defendant argued that he had no idea the handgun was actually on his bedroom floor. Given the facts of the case, the court disagreed with the defendant and affirmed his guilty conviction.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant in this case had been previously convicted of statutory burglary, a crime that made it illegal for him to knowingly possess any firearm or ammunition for a firearm. One day, in late 2020, three police officers came to the defendant’s home when they received reports regarding a potential assault by the defendant on his girlfriend. The defendant’s girlfriend, who lived with him in the apartment, consented to the police searching the residence when they arrived.
Upon searching the defendant’s room, one of the officers found a box of 9-mm ammunition on top of the dresser, in plain view from the doorway. The officer also found competitive-fighting paraphernalia, men’s clothing that led her to believe the defendant was actively living in the room, and a 9-mm pistol sitting on the floor.
While in jail, the defendant participated in several phone calls that the jail recorded. In these calls, the defendant admitted to owning the gun, and at one point the defendant rehearsed a story with his girlfriend that would allow her to testify as though the gun belonged to someone else.
The trial court found the defendant guilty of knowingly and intelligently possessing the firearm. On appeal, the defendant argued that there was no way for the jury to be sure that he was aware that the firearm was on his bedroom floor. Even though the firearm was in his apartment, said the defendant, the evidence did not suffice to prove that he should be convicted of knowingly possessing the gun.
The court disagreed with the defendant, pointing to facts in the record that suggested the defendant did, in fact, know about the gun. In one of the recorded telephone calls, for example, the defendant directly admitted that he had previously found the pistol and “put it in the air.” The defendant’s attorney admitted during trial that this statement referred to the firearm in question. Additionally, it was reasonable to believe that the defendant resided in the bedroom where the firearm was found. Given the fact that the gun was plainly on the floor of the room, it would have been very difficult for the defendant to not know that it was there.
Given the unfavorable nature of the facts, the defendant lost his appeal. His guilty verdict was sustained.
Have You Been Charged with Gun Possession in Virginia?
If you have found yourself facing gun possession charges in Virginia, give us a call at Robinson Law, PLLC. Our attorneys stay informed of recent changes in Virginia case law and are prepared to present the best, most relevant defenses to your case. We understand how much your freedom means to you, and we are committed to offering you the best representation possible. For a free consultation, call us at 703-542-3616.