Driver was in constructive possession of handgun found under his seat


In 2010, Willie Weekly and Beverly Edwards were robbed at gunpoint in a parking lot in Jackson, Mississippi. Two men in a dark colored sedan got a credit card, $400, and a straight razor in the robbery. After giving a description of the robbers and the vehicle to the police, a BOLO was put out.

Officer Michael Moore pulled over a dark colored Toyota Camry for a traffic violation and then called for backup when he noted that the vehicle matched the BOLO. He then ordered the two men to exit the vehicle and noted that Robert Lewis also matched the description of one of the robbers.

A protective sweep of the vehicle revealed a glock handgun under the driver’s seat that matched the description in the BOLO. The two men were then arrested and a straight razor was found in an inventory search of the vehicle. Weekly and Edwards positively identified Lewis from a photo line up.

Lewis was convicted of armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and sentenced to 40 years. On appeal, he argued he did not have actual or physical possession of the handgun found in the vehicle. MCOA affirmed.


The term possession in this case means actual, physical possession of a tangible item, but it also means knowingly exercising dominion and control over a tangible item while aware of the presence and character of the particular item and being consciously and intentionally in possession, although not actual physical possession.

In Davis, we said that constructive possession may be shown by establishing that the item involved was subject to the defendant’s dominion or control. The handgun, discovered by Moore during a protective sweep of the vehicle, was found under the driver’s seat. Because Lewis was the driver of the vehicle, the handgun was subject to his dominion and control, even though it was not discovered in his actual physical possession. This issue is without merit.