Unlawful Possession of Ammunition Conviction Vacated

On February 28, the Appellate Division, First Department, held, vacated CAL client A.T.’s conviction for unlawful possession of a weapon.  The unlawful possession of ammunition provision provides that “[i]t shall be unlawful for any person not authorized to possess a pistol or revolver within the city of New York to possess pistol or revolver ammunition[.]” No appellate court in New York had addressed whether the italicized language meant that the People had the burden of proving that defendants charged under this provision did not possess pistol or revolver licenses, or whether defendants were required to offer proof that they had licenses in order to defeat the charge. The First Department agreed with us that the plain text of the provision and New York law governing statutory construction required the People to prove that A.T. was not authorized to possess a pistol or revolver within New York City, which the People had not shown in A.T.’s case. A.T. was represented on appeal by Scott H. Henney.