Arguing Firearm Possession at the Delaware Supreme Court

October 21, 2010


Yesterday I argued the case of State v. Eley at the Delaware Supreme Court. This appeal was the result of a trial that occurred early in 2009. The backstory of this case is essentially that Mr. Eley was residing in an apartment that he rented, and he allowed his girlfriend, cousin, and sister to reside there. His sister lawfully owned a firearm that she kept at the residence. Mr. Eley is prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.

Mr. Eley was convicted of possession of a firearm by a person prohibited through the theory of constructive possession. Constructive possession is essentially that although something may not be in your immediate possession, you have power over the item and are therefor in possession of it.

This argument was in front of the Chief Justice, Justice Holland, and Justice Ridgely. It is often difficult to start these arguments based on the fact that it is only a matter of time before the justice's will interrupt your argument with questions. This is by the way a godsend, most good criminal defense lawyers tend to be quick witted and are able to answer a question on their feet.

The appeal was separated into two arguments, the first being that there was not enough evidence for the charge to go to the jury, and second that a prosecutor's misstatement of the law poisoned the jury and the trial Judge's failure to correct this made the trial unfair. The argument was spirited and Justice's were more than fair to me and the attorney arguing for the State. I can only sit back and wait until I get a decision, and hopefully my client will be set free.