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Court Discusses Elements of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree

A man was accused of the crimes of criminal mischief in the second degree, two counts of criminal mischief in the fourth degree, two counts of grand larceny in the second degree and two counts of attempted grand larceny in the second degree.

A New York Criminal Lawyer said the accusation arise from the incident when the man directed his agents or employees to widen and reconstruct a town road and did thereby intentionally damage property of another person by destroying trees, stone walls, and wire fences, having no right to do so nor any reasonable ground to believe that he had such right, and did thereby steal and appropriate said road and property for his own benefit.

The man then made a motion and submitted an affidavit seeking various items of pre-trial relief. In the motion, the man asked the court to inspect the grand jury minutes. The court then granted the request to the extent that the court will examine the transcript of the proceedings.

The court determines that release of the grand jury minutes to the parties is not necessary to assist the court in making its determination upon the motion to dismiss the accusation upon the ground of insufficiency of the evidence.

A Brooklyn Criminal Lawyer said that based on records, a person is guilty of grand larceny in the second degree when he steals property and when the value of the property exceeds one thousand five hundred dollars.

As to the fourth and sixth counts of the charges accusing the man of stealing property or attempting to steal property from the town road, the court holds and determines that the evidence presented to the jury was not legally sufficient for the jury to have reasonable cause to believe that the man possessed the specific intent to deprive another of property or to appropriate the same to himself or that he wrongfully took property from an owner. The evidence presented indicates that the man damaged and destroyed property consisting of stone walls, wire fences, and trees and thereby rendered such property worthless to himself or anyone else.

Based on records, a person is guilty of criminal mischief in the second degree when with intent to damage property of another person, and having no right to do so or any reasonable ground to believe that he had such right, he damages property of another person in an amount exceeding one thousand five hundred dollars.

In the man’s motion papers, he takes the position that he had a right, or at least reasonable grounds to believe that he had a right, to open and widen the town road to the width of at least three rods. However, the court rejected the said argument since the man is clearly not the superintendent of the highways for the town.

The legislative intent in enacting the highway law providing that lands used by the public as a highway for ten years or more shall be a highway and that the town superintendent shall open all such highways to a width of at least three rods. But, it was not to authorize town superintendents to appropriate lands not actually in use as roads without consent of the owner or by due process of law compensating, since it would take property without due process of law. Therefore, not even the superintendent of highways of the town could destroy the town road wire fence, stone wall, and trees without either consent or the payment of just compensation, much less deposit piles of debris upon their property.
Consequently, the court holds and determines that the man’s motion to dismiss the first, second and third counts of the indictment is denied.

In some rare situations, crimes are committed unintentionally or by mistake because of ignorance to the wrongful act but as they say ignorance is not an excuse so such alibi would make a difficult stand in court. If you need assistance with the same or related matter, such as theft charges, sex crimes or drug possession, you can ask the New York City Grand Larceny Attorney or NYC Criminal Lawyer. You can reach them by calling or visiting Stephen Bilkis and Associates office.

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