Supreme Court dismisses possession with intent charge

The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeals and dismissed the only remaining charge against [the defendant] in an opinion that was released today.

"The circuit court's finding that [the defendant] knew of the presence and character of the cocaine, without a finding that it was also subject to his dominion and control, is insufficient to support a conviction based upon constructive possession," the Court held, relying on the well-settled principle that mere proximity to a controlled substance is insufficient to establish possession. Accordingly, the Court dismissed his charge for possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.

The defendant was initially also charged with conspiracy to possess drugs with the intent to distribute them, but that charge had been dismissed earlier by the Court of Appeals. 

The case was argued on November 2, 2017 by Matthew Stewart before the Supreme Court of Virginia at Richmond.

Read the full opinion here (opens in new window).