Court of Appeals Upholds Larceny Conviction
The Court of Appeals agreed with the Prosecution that "it could be inferred from the evidence that defendant took money from the wallet before throwing the wallet away, and, upon realizing she had been caught, replaced some of the money before handing it over to casino security."
Issues:Sufficiency of the evidence to support the defendant's larceny in a building conviction;People v. Sykes; Intent; People v. Pratt; People v. Kissner; People v. Johnson-El; Court costs; MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(ii) & (iii); People v. Konopka; People v. Cunningham; "Plain error" review; People v. Carines
Summary:Rejecting the defendant's claim that there was insufficient evidence of her intent, the court held that there was sufficient evidence to support her larceny in a building conviction. It agreed with her that the trial court lacked independent authority to impose court costs pursuant to MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(ii), but held that the trial court may impose costs under MCL 769.1k(1)(b)(iii). Thus, the court affirmed defendant's conviction and remanded to the trial court to establish a factual basis for the $600 in court costs and to give defendant the opportunity to challenge the reasonableness of the costs imposed. The victim was at a casino "playing on a slot machine when her wallet fell to the ground. The evidence showed that defendant, an off-duty police officer, sat down next to the victim, surreptitiously placed her foot on the victim's wallet, slid the wallet closer to her, and picked up the wallet. Defendant then went into the bathroom with the wallet and admittedly threw the wallet in the trashcan." Later, when it was recovered, it was found that "money was missing and that the remaining money had been moved to a different compartment in the wallet." The court noted that only "minimal circumstantial evidence is necessary to prove defendant's intent, and defendant's intent may be inferred from the facts and circumstances." The prosecution argued at trial that "it could be inferred from the evidence that defendant took money from the wallet before throwing the wallet away, and, upon realizing she had been caught, replaced some of the money before handing it over to casino security." The court agreed that this was "a reasonable inference based on the record. At trial, defendant asserted that she merely found the wallet and threw it away because she had been drinking and did not want to appear suspicious." On appeal, she pointed to "discrepancies in the victim's story, particularly in regard to the amount of money missing from the wallet." However, "credibility issues are resolved in favor of the jury verdict" and the court "will 'not interfere with the jury's role as the sole judge of the facts when reviewing the evidence.'" Viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecution, the court held that there was sufficient evidence "to establish defendant had the intent to deprive the victim of her property."