Assessing Drug Possession in the Seventh Degree Information Sufficiency in New York

In People v. Smalls, 26 NY3d 1064, 23 N.Y.S.3d 134, 44 N.E.3d 209 (2015), the Court of Appeals was tasked with assessing the facial sufficiency of an information charging the offense of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. The Court held that: "the information was facially sufficient because is contained adequate allegations that the officer had the requisite training and experience to recognize the substance in defendant's possession as a controlled substance and that the officer reached his conclusion about the nature of the substance based on its appearance and placement within a favored apparatus of drug users, a glass pipe". (Smalls, 26 NY3d at 1067.) The court reiterated that "an information's description of the characteristics of a substance combined with its account of an officer's training in identifying such substances, the packaging of such substance and the presence of drug paraphernalia, can support the inference that the officer properly recognized the substance as a controlled substance." Id.