Charged w/ possession--but he never actually had possession?

According to this article:http://www.app.com/article/20081015/NEWS/81015035/0/NEWS this guy had a package sent to him at work with marijuana. The secretary got it and called the cops—now the man is charged with possession. But he never received the pacakge, so, as far as I can tell from the article, he never had possession of the substance. Now, I’m not saying he hasn’t broken any laws necessarily, but it seems strange to be charged with possession when you haven’t actually …possessed.

If knew of its existence (and presumably it being addressed to him by name demonstrates that sufficently) and had both the power and intention of controlling it, he has constructive possession. He need not actually have physical possession of the item.

Possession does not require you to be in physical contact with the object possessed: it just requires it to be in your control. So if you’re being delivered an object, and you ask for it to be put on you front porch, you then possess it, because you control the porch ad everything sitting there.

In this case, the secretary is under the control and direction of the person charged, so as soon as the secretary receives the drugs, they are controlled and hence possessed by the supervisor of the secretary. It doesn’t seem a great stretch to me.

So could the fellow in question just claim he never ordered it and had no idea why it was sent to him? I mean, merely having something addressed to me doesn’t mean I requested the item.
I just assumed there was some other law that he could be charged with breaking other than possession. It just struck me as odd.

First off, they can charge you with any damn thing in the hopes of rattling a confession out of you. I’m betting however that the article left out some events that would clarify the situation.

IIRC, someone must actually accept delivery of the package in question before he can successfully be prosecuted for possessing it. Typically, law enforcement will be working with the carrier and will be in a position to surreptitiously witness the acceptance of the delivery, then swoop in and make an arrest when the delivery is accepted. I’m guessing that this is exactly what happened, with the secretary playing the part of the cooperative carrier.

I was once charged with loitering with intent to possess a controlled substance. That’s right, attempted possession of marijuana. This was in New York State in the late 1960’s. The judge tossed it out, but it is a real charge, and I could have been convicted if the prosecution had sufficient evidence.

Did you read the article? The police were not involved until the secretary found the cannabis and called them of her own volition. It also mentions that the person who made the delivery is being sought. Your scenario is not conducive with the facts.

The fact is that the secretary intercepted the package and called the police. The article doesn’t give any details on what happened next. My assumption is the police came to the office to respond to her call, had her deliver the package to the intended recipient, who then accepted it and was immediately arrested and charged. It’s perfectly plausible and doesn’t contradict the article in any way.

I mean, just imagine if you could get someone thrown in jail just by mailing them contraband. You could get anyone you wish arrested and put a permanent mark on their criminal record just by mailing them a brick of weed. There’s got to be more to it than that.

Well, the fellow in question certainly could claim this. It’s then up to the judge and/or jury to decide the question of fact regarding whether the fellow knew about and wanted the package.

Now, in the absence of any other information, when wondering whether a) this fellow is lying to get out of jail or b) there’s someone out there randomly mailing pot to strangers, I think I can predict which way most people will go. But it’s certainly possible the fellow could add more evidence to make his story more believable and be acquitted.

Alternatively, do away with the expense of the dope, just get some kiddy porn on their computer - and you can get them destroyed.

‘Virtual Assassination’

A local mayor in Prince George’s County, Maryland had his house raided by a county SWAT team, who shot and killed his dogs, after a package containing marijuana was delivered to his door.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/30/AR2008073003299.html

If that’s how they treat a respected local politician, you can imagine how the average citizen gets treated.