In a recent case before a New York appellate court, the defendant successfully appealed his conviction of criminal possession of a weapon. The defendant originally faced charges after an officer found a .45 caliber gun in his vehicle’s center console. His case went to trial, and a jury found him guilty. On appeal, however, the defendant successfully argued that the trial court unreasonably allowed the prosecution to introduce evidence of his past crimes during the proceedings. The higher court, agreeing with the defendant, vacated the trial court’s order. Generally, evidence of prior bad acts may not be used against a defendant with very limited exceptions.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, an officer pulled the defendant over one morning because of an illegal U-turn. The officer approached the defendant’s car and immediately smelled marijuana. He took the defendant and his passenger to the station, later finding a .45 caliber gun in the defendant’s console along with three handguns in the back.
The defendant’s case went to trial, and during the trial, the prosecution introduced evidence of two prior incidents on the defendant’s record – a 2006 uncharged crime and a 2007 misdemeanor for weapon possession. The jury ultimately returned a guilty verdict.