Heard: January 2, 2019.
received and sworn to in the Lowell Division of the District
Court Department on September 19, 2016.
case was tried before J. Elizabeth Cremens, J.
Weber for the defendant.
Gregory J. Galizio, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Present: Green, C.J., Shin, & Englander, JJ.
defendant was convicted by a jury of possession of cocaine
based on a theory of constructive possession, and the issue
before us is the sufficiency of the proof. The cocaine was
found in the glove compartment of a car in which the
defendant was the driver and sole occupant, after the
defendant was pulled over for a traffic violation. The car
was not registered to the defendant, and the cocaine was
viewed by the police officer only because, after he asked the
defendant for his license and the vehicle registration, the
defendant opened the glove compartment to look for the
registration. The totality of the evidence was not sufficient
to find that the defendant had previous knowledge of the
cocaine beyond a reasonable doubt, and we accordingly
on the evidence at trial, the jury could have reasonably
found the following. In the early morning of September 18,
2016, the defendant was driving a Honda automobile on a
street in Lowell. The Honda strayed into the opposite travel
lane, almost striking a police vehicle being driven by
Officer Jerome Moore. Officer Moore thereafter stopped the
Honda and approached the defendant. Officer Moore testified
Q.: "Now, when you encountered the [d]efendant,
did you ask him about the driving?"
A.: "I did."
Q.: "And what did he say?"
A.: "He said he didn't know what I was talking
about, and that he had just replaced the axles in his
Q.: "And did you ask him for his license or