Constructive Drugs Possession Case in California

In People v. King (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 493, in a house with several occupants, officers found methamphetamine in a baggie stuffed inside a ceramic statue, in a baggie and in a syringe inside a purse. While the evidence indicated that the purse was not defendant's, the prosecutor argued "'more than one person can possess an item.'" (Id. at p. 499.) The Court held, where actual or constructive possession is based on two or more individual units of contraband reasonably distinguishable by a separation in time or space and a reasonable jury could find that each unit was solely possessed by persons other than the defendant, a jury unanimity instruction must be given, unless the prosecution makes an election. (Id. at pp. 501-502.)