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Appellate court denies appeal for convicted felon

Posted: September 16, 2012 - 12:13am

An appellate court denied a Juneau’s man appeal for a 2010 weapons misconduct conviction.

The Court of Appeals for the state of Alaska announced their ruling Friday in a memorandum opinion, affirming the judgment of Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg.

Brandon P. Doyle, who is in his early 20s, appealed his conviction for third-degree weapons misconduct for being a felon in possession of a concealable firearm.

According to the ruling, a Walther P-22 semi-automatic handgun was found in a backpack Doyle had been carrying, along with his identification. The backpack was found in a trailer shortly after Doyle fled the trailer by jumping out of a window when police approached.

Doyle contended that the evidence presented at his trial was legally insufficient to support his conviction. While he admitted to being a convicted felon, that the backpack belonged to him and that there was a concealable firearm in the backpack, Doyle argued that the state presented no direct evidence that he was aware that a handgun was in his backpack.

Court of Appeals Judge David Mannheimer wrote in the opinion that that may be true, but that doesn’t mean the evidence is insufficient to support the jury’s verdict.

Mannheimer noted that in Alaska, a verdict can be based on circumstantial evidence, and that the appellate court must asses the evidence in the light most favorable to upholding the jury’s verdict.

“Here,” Mannheimer added, “there was ample circumstantial evidence to warrant the jury in concluding that Doyle knowingly possessed the handgun in his backpack.”

Court records show Doyle was sentenced to serve two years in prison for the weapons misconduct charge, but that he was acquitted after trial on two other related charges.

A Memorandum of Judgement (MOJ), such as this one, differ from opinions issued by the court since they do not create legal precedent, nor can be cited in other cases, until it is published.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.

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