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Court Reverses Grand Larceny Charges


An owner of a truck appeals for the convictions of grand larceny of a truck, petit larceny of its contents, and trespass on property.

It was started when a man took possession of the truck and began making monthly installment payments after agreeing to purchase it from a long-time friend. But before the full purchase price of two thousand dollars had been paid, the owner of the truck lent the man another sum of money. Eventually, because that sum had not been repaid, the owner of the truck took the truck, asserting in effect a security interest in the truck and a right to repossess it, even though the originally agreed-upon installment payments had by then been made.

The man assumed what had happened and he did not report the truck as stolen for seventeen days. A New York Criminal Lawyer said he merely thought that his friend had repossessed the truck because of his outstanding debt. Consequently, the deputy sheriff testified about his conversation with the owner of the truck. The sheriff further testified that the owner told him that he will not give back the truck to the man until he pays backs what the man owes.

At all pertinent times, the truck was registered in the owner’s name. The man acknowledged that, initially, he too thought that the owner had a right to take the truck.

Based on records, a person who takes possession in the good faith belief that he or she has a right to the property lacks the requisite intent to commit larceny. In addition, in order to prove specific felonious intent, the state can rely on circumstantial evidence. A Suffolk County Criminal Lawyer said that since intent necessarily involves the state of mind of the perpetrator, very often circumstantial evidence is the only evidence available to prove intent. However, such evidence must exclude every reasonable hypothesis but that of guilt.

At the conclusion of the case, the defense moved for a decision of acquittal on grounds that the state had failed to prove that the owner of the truck, at the time of the taking of the vehicle, had the intent to steal the vehicle.

The court had the burden to establish specific intent to commit theft, which is an essential element of the crime. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the court had the duty therefore to exclude the owner’s hypothesis of innocence by virtue of a good faith claim to the right of possession. Considerable evidence supported the defense theory that the owner took the truck in a good faith belief that he had a legitimate right to do so. Consequently, the convictions for trespass and for petit larceny are affirmed. However, the conviction for grand larceny is reversed.

Another judge coincides with the first decision. He opined that there is no evidentiary argument regarding the facts and circumstances surrounding the act of taking of the man’s truck which demonstrate an inconsistency with the defense theory that the owner of the truck in good faith believed that he had a legitimate right to take the truck.

In addition, there is nothing at all in the record from which it can be reasonably concluded that the owner of the truck went forward with any evidence to show a lack of criminal intent on his part when he went upon the man’s home-site and repossessed the truck from the man who had purchased and paid for. Lastly, the owner’s subjective intent when he took the truck was a jury question and there was more than sufficient evidence to sustain the jury’s decision of guilt as to all three charged offenses which came after less than a half-hour of deliberations. For that reason, the judge affirms the owner’s convictions as to all charges.

Ordinary persons don’t usually have enough knowledge of the law and sometimes they do wrong things unconsciously. If you need further understanding about the law, don’t hesitate to call Stephen Bilkis and Associates’ office for assistance. When the matter is about theft or robbery, you can avail of the expertise of the NYC Petit Larceny Lawyer or NY Grand larceny Attorney. You can also have the services of the New York City Criminal Lawyers.

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