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Possession of a Weapon- An Issue of Fact for the Jury

"Not Guilty" of Possession of a gun for Attorney Pasqualini's Client

By Attorney Jeffrey B. Engle

Harrisburg, PA- Attorney Elisabeth K. H. Pasqualini won a "Not Guilty" verdict for her client J.E. today in Dauphin County court on two felony gun charges. A gun was found under the passenger seat, where her client had been seated, during a search of a car following a traffic stop. Only J.E. and the driver were in the car at the time it was stopped.

On cross examination, the judge refused to allow Ms. Pasqualini to question the officer about the driver's then pending gun charge and a juvenile gun arrest. The officer cited the driver's history as the reasoning for the "sweep" of the car in an earlier proceeding.

The Commonwealth was permitted to argue that J.E. must have known the gun was under the seat because an officer said he tried to run from the scene, yet J. E. was denied the right to testify that he knew the driver had a history with guns and that his reason for leaving the scene was that he was afraid of what the driver might have had in the car.

Although a defendant has no obligation to take the stand to tell his side of the story, J.E. wanted to testify and explain why he tried to leave the scene. Aside from seeming nervous, his alleged flight was the only thing that set him apart from the driver, who wasn't charged but also was in arm's length of the gun.

Even without the defendant's very relevant testimony in this matter, the jury took only 20 minutes to return with a verdict of Not Guilty.

If you have questions about criminal matters or charges you are currently facing, contact the experienced team of trial lawyers at Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC. You may call us toll free at the number above or online at