Constructive Possession

By December 16, 2013 January 17th, 2018 No Comments

“It Isn’t mine.”

Uttering this phrase to the police when they have found you in close proximity to anything: drugs, alcohol, or violence – only shows you don’t understand the legal principle of constructive possession.

Constructive possession requires: (1) intent, and, (2) the ability to exercise dominion and control [1].

Essentially, it does not matter if it “isn’t yours.” On campus or off.

Because it’s about what it’s always about: a student’s choice of people and places. Friends who place you in harm’s way aren’t good friends. And you’re foolish for choosing them.

The mother of the philosopher Menscius (372-289 BC) is famous for moving repeatedly until her son picked up the right role models. She found that he emulated those around him [2].

Friend’s watch out for one another.

Be your own best friend.

“I am beginning to be my own friend. That is progress indeed.” – Seneca (stoic philosopher. 4BC-65AD)

[1] Wilson v. Commonwealth, 46 Va. App. 408 (2005)

[2] Dec. 2013. Web. 16 Dec. 2013. <http://ancient.eu.com/Mencius?>

These materials have been prepared by WGW for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

Shanlon Wu

Author Shanlon Wu

Shan’s professional and personal background gives him a unique understanding of academic institutions and the criminal justice system. A former federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., he is at home in D.C. Courts and very familiar with all of the Washington, D.C. law enforcement agencies, especially the Metropolitan Police Department. His parents were university professors so he grew up in a university environment. He understands the mindset of academic institutions. As a prosecutor, he supervised in the misdemeanor crime section. This is the section of the Washington, D.C. prosecutor’s office that handles most college student cases. His understanding of charging decisions and how judges view these cases is invaluable to his student clients and their families. Shan served as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for over ten years. During his tenure there, now Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. appointed him to supervisory positions in the Misdemeanor Trial Section and also in a police corruption task force. His outstanding legal work in the government was recognized through numerous Special Achievement Awards from the Justice Department as well as awards conveyed by law enforcement agencies and community groups. From 1999-2000, Shan served as Counsel to Attorney General Janet Reno, advising her on criminal and civil investigations, E-Gov, E-Commerce (electronic signatures, internet gambling, internet telephony, privacy & public access issues in electronic court filings), congressional oversight, and legislative review. His responsibilities included serving as liaison to the FBI, DEA, Criminal Division, Executive Office of United States Attorneys, National Institute of Justice, and White House Counsel’s Office. Shan serves on the D.C. Bar Association’s Hearing Committee of the Board on Professional Responsibility and is a past president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association for the Greater Washington, D.C. area. He is a 1988 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, where he graduated Order of the Barristers, edited two law reviews, and was Co-Director of the Moot Court Program. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from Vassar College as well as a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Following law school, he clerked for the late Hon. Jerry Buchmeyer, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, and the late Eugene Wright, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia and Connecticut.

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