United States v. Johnson, No. 21-3113 (10th Cir. 2022)Annotate this Case
Defendant-appellant Larry Johnson was convicted by a jury for possessing a firearm and possessing crack cocaine with the intent to distribute. He sought to overturn his firearms convictions, arguing the trial court erred in instructing the jury on constructive possession. The Tenth Circuit found no plain error, finding that had the jury been given the proper instruction, it would have concluded nonetheless Johnson had both actual and constructive possession of the firearm: after police pulled Johnson over for a traffic violation, they saw a black pistol on the driver's seat where he had been sitting. "Johnson had been exerting physical control over the firearm by sitting on it." Further, the Court found Johnson was in constructive possession of the firearm based on physical contact; the fact the firearm was loaded; his previous statement admitting to possessing a firearm to aid in drug trafficking; and his simultaneous possession of drugs for distribution.