Criminal Law – Marijuana Possession in a Public Place

The Appellate Term recently reversed a case from Queens County Criminal Court because, among other issues, the prosecution failed to show that the defendant’s use of marijuana was in a public place.
The facts failed to show that the premises where the defendant was observed to be in possession of marijuana was actually a “public place” and “open to public view.” The accusatory instrument listed only an address and did not specify what the location was used for. The appeals court held that it was not possible to infer that the address listed in the accusatory instrument was a public place, such as a lobby or hallway.The conviction was reversed and the accusatory instrument was dismissed. People v. Brown. NYLJ 2-14-17.