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Touching Gun Didn’t Establish Possession, Appeals Court Rules

May 6, 2021, 12:15 AM

Merely touching a firearm wasn’t enough to establish possession of it, the Fifth Circuit said Wednesday in vacating the guilty plea of a Texas felon.

Tredon Smith pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver after police implied that his fingerprints were found on the firearm. Smith had acknowledged that he touched the gun while at a friend’s house. The district court accepted that factual basis to sustain the conviction, for which he was sentenced to 57 months.

On appeal, Smith contended that the district court wrongly concluded his admission that he ...