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Evidence is overwhelming

The following two (2) cases involve the reduction of a grand larceny conviction to petit larceny and its corresponding sentence due to the insufficiency of evidence presented during trial.

On March 7, 1988, the criminal defendant in this first case was charged with robbery in the second degree, grand larceny in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the second degree, and resisting arrest. After trial, he was convicted and was sentenced to two concurrent indeterminate terms of imprisonment of 5 to 10 years on the robbery and grand larceny counts, and a concurrent definite 1 year term on the reckless endangerment count. Defendant made an appeal assailing the said decision based on the alleged insufficiency of evidence.

In a testimony made during the trial, the complainant made a rough estimate of the value of her stolen jewelry. However, complainant’s testimony that the jewelry was worth more than $1,500 was impeached by her grand jury testimony that the jewelry was worth “give or take” that sum. Also, the court found that there is insufficient evidence in the record to show how the complainant estimated the value for she was not qualified as an expert and she only gave limited testimony on how much she paid for the jewelry. Therefore, the testimony was insufficient to prove that defendant stole property that exceeded $1,500 in value.

Because of the deficiency in evidence, the court unanimously modified the previous decision and the conviction for grand larceny in the second degree was reduced to petit larceny, and the sentence imposed on the grand larceny conviction vacated. Since the defendant has already served the maximum time to which he could have been sentenced on the petit larceny conviction, the court deemed it unnecessary to remand the case for resentencing.

In another case involving essentially the same facts, the defendant was charged with grand larceny in the fourth degree, assault in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree. On trial, the complainant made an estimate of the value of the stolen property as “at least about $2,000”.

After jury trial, the defendant was convicted and was sentenced to consecutive terms of imprisonment of 2 to 4 years and 3 1/2 to 7 years, respectively. Defendant appealed this decision based on several claims of errors arguing that the People’s evidence was not sufficient to merit his conviction.

The court ruled that although the evidence was sufficient to support defendant’s guilt of petit larceny in connection with the first incident, the complainant’s estimate of the value of the stolen property as “at least about $2,000”, without more, was insufficient to prove that defendant stole property that exceeded $1,000 in value. Hence, the court decided to reduce the grand larceny conviction to petit larceny, and to vacate the sentence imposed on the grand larceny conviction. The court also found it unnecessary to remand the case for resentencing since the defendant has already served the maximum time to which he could have been sentenced on the petit larceny conviction.

As to the charge of assault in the second degree and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, the court found that contrary to defendant’s argument, the People’s evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s finding beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant, acting in concert with the codefendant, committed those crimes.

The foregoing cases show how a grand larceny conviction may actually be reduced into a simple petit larceny conviction with the corresponding penalties also diminished. Thus, it is important to give attention to the sufficiency of evidence presented in court. If you know someone who is in the same position as these defendants, you can count on Stephen Bilkis and Associates to help you meticulously study the merits of the case. We have numerous Bronx County Grand Larceny Lawyers who can quickly give you a good legal advice on the matter. In case you are the complainant in a grand larceny case, our experienced Bronx County Grand Larceny Attorneys will ensure that none of the blunders in this case will be committed.

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