Lack of Possession Claim Cases In California

In In re Elisabeth H. (1971) 20 Cal.App.3d 323, 330-331, this court reversed an order of wardship for knowing presence in a location where narcotics were being used (Health & Saf. Code, former 11556). The minor was one of five juveniles in a vehicle filled with smoke and the aroma of burned marijuana. Although a jacket in the car contained marijuana, there was no direct evidence of the minor having smoked or been under the influence of marijuana. No marijuana debris was found on her person or in her possession. Officers could not identify where she was seated in the car. In People v. Crandall (1969) 275 Cal.App.2d 609, 610-611, deputies pursued a vehicle at night following a traffic violation. As the suspect vehicle speeded down a city block, an occupant threw a cellophane bag of marijuana onto a nearby lawn. At the time of the stop, the right front window was open and the other windows were closed. the occupants included two adults and one juvenile. The defendant, one of the adults, occupied the right front passenger seat and was convicted of possession. Division Four of the Second Appellate District reversed, finding the defendant's presence insufficient to establish aider and abettor status and finding no evidence to support an inference of joint possession. In Delgado v. United States (9th Cir. 1964) 327 F.2d 641, 641-642, the defendant and her boyfriend occupied a Los Angeles home. One of them consented to a police search of the premises. Officers found seven marijuana cigarettes and a small quantity of loose marijuana in the drawer of a nightstand. The couple appealed their convictions of receiving and concealing marijuana, alleging no possession. the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, finding it "pure speculation" whether the defendant alone, her boyfriend alone, or both of them had possession.