In just one afternoon of April 7, 2009 a man snatched the purse of an old lady as she was about to enter a store inside a shopping mall. Later that afternoon, that same man walked into a bank. He walked up to the counter and grabbed a teller by her shirt and jacket. He pulled the teller onto the counter and made her give him money. A New York Criminal Lawyer said the teller gave the man the cash that was available to her in the sum of $1464. The man took the money and escaped running from the bank.
Two days later, the man came to a police station in Schoharie County and surrendered. He confessed to the robbery he committed. He was charged with first degree robbery, fourth degree grand larceny for the bank robbery and grand larceny for snatching the old lady’s purse. Because the man had voluntarily surrendered and confessed to the commission of the robbery and the larceny, he was tried without a jury. The trial was only to submit evidence other than the man’s confession that a crime had been committed by the man.
A New York Criminal Lawyer said the man was convicted of the same charges of robbery and grand larceny, He was later sentenced to concurrent prison terms. He was sentenced to serve ten and a half years for robbery and one to four years of grand larceny. But the trial court ordered that the prison sentence for the other grand larceny charge be served consecutive to the other grand larceny sentence. The trial court also ordered the man to pay restitution to the bank of $1500 plus a 5% surcharge. The man appealed his conviction.
In his appeal, he contends that his conviction for robbery in the first degree is not supported by the evidence and, in fact, he should not have been convicted at all. He claims that he should not have been convicted of robbery in the first degree as he did not use a weapon to forcibly take the property of another. He claims that the People failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that he used a weapon during the robbery.
The indictment was a faithful restatement of the law that he forcibly stole money at the bank and he used or threatened to use a dangerous instrument. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the People rely on a bank security camera and a phone call that the man made to his wife where he told her that he had a letter opener with him. This letter opener is the supposed dangerous instrument.
The only question before the Court is whether or not evidence that the man used or threatened to use a dangerous instrument (the letter opener) is sufficient to convict him of robbery in the first degree which requires the use or threatened use of a dangerous weapon.
The Court ruled in the negative. A dangerous instrument is not the same as a deadly weapon. The elements of the crime of robbery in the first degree are precise: the accused must have used or threatened to use a deadly weapon, not a dangerous instrument when he committed the forcible taking of property.
A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said also, a review of the testimonies of the bank teller from whom he took the bank’s cash deposit in the amount of $1464 and the teller who was in the adjacent counter both agree on one point: that during the robbery, they did not see the man hold a knife or any dangerous weapon in his hands. They also testified that the man never issued any threats, he simply ordered the teller to give him her money.
The Court ruled that the evidence provided by the People is insufficient for a conviction for robbery in the first degree but it is sufficient for a conviction for robbery in the third degree. The Court remanded the case for re-sentencing in accordance with their ruling.
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