The Fourth Department, reversing defendant’s conviction for possession of a weapon, determined the evidence was legally insufficient to support the conviction. A co-defendant was seen (by the police) getting into a car with the weapon. Defendant also got into the car. The police followed. Before the police pulled the car over, when the car was out of sight, the weapon was thrown out of the car. A cell phone found near the weapon was tied to the defendant, but the weapon was not. The statutory presumption that a weapon in a vehicle is possessed by all in the vehicle did not apply because the weapon was in the possession of a codefendant when he got into the car:
We agree with defendant that the evidence is legally insufficient to support the conviction. There is no evidence that he owned or was operating the vehicle, nor is there evidence that he engaged in any other activity that would support a finding that he constructively possessed the weapon… Furthermore, the statutory presumption of possession set forth in Penal Law § 265.15 (3) also does not apply here. The statute provides that “[t]he presence in an automobile, other than a stolen one or a public omnibus, of any firearm . . . is presumptive evidence of its possession by all persons occupying such automobile at the time such weapon . . . is found” … . The statute further provides, however, that the presumption does not apply, inter alia, “if such weapon . . . is found upon the person of one of the occupants therein” (§ 265.15  [a]). Here, the weapon was not found in the vehicle, and the codefendant was holding it while he was observed entering the vehicle. Consequently, “the evidence is clearcut and leads to the sole conclusion that the weapon was . . . upon the person” of the codefendant … .
The People’s contention that defendant threw the weapon out the window, or assisted the codefendant in doing so, because it was found on the right side of the vehicle is based on speculation. Finally, the People introduced no evidence that would support a finding that defendant possessed the weapon as an accomplice. People v Willingham, 2018 NY Slip Op 00733, Fourth Dept 2-2-18