Washington Law Review




Defendant Hutchinson was arrested after Seattle police discovered narcotics during a search of a houseboat on which he had been a visitor during the previous two days. The only personal effects of the defendant which were found on the houseboat were two books on drugs, a set of broken scales, and two guns. There was no evidence offered to substantiate a claim that the defendant resided on the houseboat, or that he contributed significantly to its maintenance. No narcotics were found on the defendant's person, although various narcotics were discovered within the defendant's reach on and underneath a desk which he shared with a co-defendant. There were at least three other people in close proximity to the drugs. Although he admitted that he had inspected and handled the drugs earlier in the day, defendant made no claim of ownership, and a co-defendant testified that the drugs belonged to him. In reviewing the defendant's appeal from a conviction of possession of narcotics under the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act, the Washington Supreme Court held: insufficient evidence existed for the jury to find that the defendant had dominion and control, a necessary element of constructive possession, of either the contraband narcotics or the premises on which the narcotics were found. State v. Callalan, 77 Wash. Dec. 2d 26, 459 P.2d 400 (1969).

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