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Name: People v. Weddles
Case #: C057666
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 05/25/2010

An immediate family relationship is sufficient to establish constructive possession for purposes of the robbery statute. Appellant and his cohorts broke into an apartment at gunpoint to steal from the occupants. The resident’s brother happened to be present and the perpetrators ordered him to show them where his brother kept his money and to hand it over. At the resident’s behest, the brother complied. Appellant argued on appeal that the conviction for robbery of the visiting brother had to be reversed because he did not have possession of, or a possessory interest in, the resident’s cash. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The court noted case law recognizes the victim of a robbery can be any person who has a “special relationship” with the owner of the property sufficient to show authority or responsibility to protect the property on behalf of the owner. The court held that the qualifying special relationship here was an immediate family member. Although the brother did not live in the apartment, he was the resident’s only brother, was close enough to the brother to know where he kept his savings, and he visited the apartment often. These facts establish constructive possession. The conviction was upheld.