A Queens Shoplifting Lawyer said that, this case before the court involves a supermarket owner (the complainant) who, while manning the checkout register near the exit, saw the defendant go past him with an armful of meat, subsequently estimated at $30 worth. When he called out, defendant quickened his pace and left the store. The owner took off after him, gave chase around the corner, and saw defendant enter a car. The motor was running. As the complainant paused to jot down the license plate number, the meat was thrown from the car. While this was happening a police patrol car came upon the scene. In a matter of seconds defendant and co-defendant (who was at the wheel of the car) were under arrest, charged with the Class A misdemeanor of petit larceny.
A Queens Petit Larceny Lawyer said that, at the preliminary hearing the complainant testified that the meat, once repossessed, was cleaned, re-wrapped and sold in the regular course of the supermarket’s business. The meat obviously was not produced at the hearing, which took place three weeks after the incident. Such tags as it may have had, identifying its ownership or other information, were lost sight of and were never produced in court.
A Queens Criminal Lawyer said that, at the close of the preliminary hearing the defendants now move to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the People have failed to meet the obligation to establish reasonable cause for the arrest, as required by Section 170.75, subdivision 3(a) of the Criminal Procedure Law. Although they admit that it would have been inappropriate, perhaps, to bring such perishable property into court, they contend that the prosecution had an obligation to bring in and introduce memorandum tags of ownership as a prerequisite to oral testimony of ownership. In the alternative, they claim that the People should have been required, before oral testimony of ownership could be admitted, to give a satisfactory explanation for their failure to produce such tags. To this end they invoke the functional definition of the best evidence rule as requiring ‘that whenever a party seeks to prove the contents of a writing, he must produce the original of the writing or satisfactorily account for its absence.’