Tennessee v. Brown – Case Brief Summary (Tennessee)

In Tennessee v. Brown, 915 S.W.2d 3 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1995), the owner and driver of a car was convicted of possession of cocaine with intent to sell after a police officer observed a passenger throw two bags of cocaine from the vehicle.

The amount of cocaine in the bags totaled 5.06 grams. Although the Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee reversed Brown's conviction because of improperly admitted evidence, the court held that the evidence was sufficient to sustain the conviction. See Brown, 915 S.W.2d 3 at 5, 8.

The court stated that "knowledge may be inferred from control over the vehicle in which the contraband is secreted." Brown, 915 S.W.2d 3 at 7.

It held that the jury could infer knowledge and possession from the defendant's ownership of the car. See Brown, 915 S.W.2d 3 at 8.

Rejecting Brown's contention that the evidence showed only his mere presence in an area where drugs were found and association with a person controlling drugs, the court explained:

The defendant was more than merely present in the area where the cocaine was found and more than just associated with the passenger who tossed the cocaine. The defendant owned the car out of which the passenger tossed the cocaine; he knew the passenger and he was in an area known for drug transactions. Id.