Saturday, October 06, 2007


United States v. Wilson, Docket No. 05-5985-cr (2d Cir. September 24, 2007) (Jacobs, Katzmann, Hall, CJJ) (per curiam)

This short decision disposes of a sufficiency claim that has not yet arisen in this Circuit relating to “stash house” prosecutions under 21 U.S.C. § 856(a)(2).

Wilson shared two apartments with a drug dealer - the tools of his trade were in open view all over the place. She argued that the evidence was legally insufficient because the government did not prove that she herself intended that the premises would be used for an unlawful purpose.

The Circuit made short work of this. The phrase “for the purpose” in § 856(a)(2) refers to the purpose of the person who is permitted to engage in drug activity in the premise, and not she who permits him. By contrast, § 856 (a)(1) makes it a crime for the person controlling the premises to have such a purpose. Thus, under Wilson’s reading of the law the two sections would proscribe the same conduct.

Here, the government only needed to prove that Wilson knew that her residence was being used for drug trafficking, and it did so.

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