Every time I drive pass Pack Ledge Street, I remember the trial. Paris, a young man I worked with, was on trial for possession of a firearm.
Paris was walking down the street when an unmarked police cruiser pulled alongside him. He turned and began walking toward his girlfriend's apartment. The police officers noticed the turn. They jumped out of the cruiser and Paris fled.
He ran up the stairs of the apartment building, down the hallway, all the way through the apartment, out a back door, then down the back stairs. At the bottom of the stairs he ran into a detective and was cuffed.
Police retraced his steps. They found a gun in the rubbish. Paris was read his rights.
I sat through the trial as a support.
The police officer said Paris was a gang member and he ran because he had the gun. But that had to be proved. They tested the gun’s surface for fingerprints. Paris’ fingerprints were not found. His lawyer argued, “If he was running [in 90 degree weather], that means he was sweating, and if he was sweating then his finger prints would have been on the gun in question.”
Then his lawyer defined what it meant to "possess something." He said to the jury, using a pen as a prop, “In order for me to possess this pen, I have to have it in my hand.” He walked to the jury box, placed the pen on the railing, and walked away. “If the pen is over there and I am over here then I do not possess the pen.”
There was no proof that Paris possessed the gun. The jury ruled, "Not guilty."
Maybe he wiped off the gun before he threw it. Maybe it was shear luck. Because every time I drive pass Pack Ledge Street I think, “I can’t believe he got away with that.”