Court Vacates Larceny Conviction


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Case: People v. Williams, Michigan Court of Appeals ( Published Opinion )

Issues:

Sufficiency of the evidence; People v. Bailey; People v. Nowack; Larceny from the person; MCL 750.357; People v. Smith-Anthony; “From the person” defined; People v. Perkins; Circumstantial evidence to show intent; People v. Kanaan; Larceny in a building; MCL 750.360; People v. Klammer; Whether defendant’s convictions for larceny from the person & larceny in a building are inconsistent such that one of the two convictions must be vacated; U.S. v. Powell; Inconsistent verdict; People v. Lewis; Mutually exclusive verdict; U.S. v. Daigle (D DC); People v. Davis

Summary:

Holding that there was sufficient evidence to convict defendant of larceny from the person, but that she could not be simultaneously convicted of larceny in building, the court affirmed the former and vacated the latter. She was convicted of both crimes based on her theft of a $100 ticket at a casino. The ticket was left on a slot machine by a decoy who waited nearby. On appeal, the court rejected her argument that the evidence was insufficient to convict her of larceny from the person because the prosecution failed to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she took property from the person of another. “The jury could properly determine that defendant’s encroachment within one foot of the decoy and the lack of any intervening objects meant that the ticket was taken from the decoy’s immediate presence.” It also rejected her claim that her conviction should be vacated because the prosecution failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she intended to permanently deprive the decoy of the ticket. It noted that “evidence was presented that before defendant took the ticket she acted in a manner consistent with a larcenous intent.” Similarly, her contention that she “did not have time to leave the casino with the ticket, cash it, or use it does not negate the evidence of intent established by her conduct prior to taking the ticket.” However, the court found that although defendant could be charged with both offenses (larceny from the person and larceny in a building) in the alternative as to the same larceny, she may not be convicted of both. “[A] larceny may be ‘from a person’ or ‘in a building,’ but not both at the same time. The fact that the victim of a larceny from a person is in a building at the time of the larceny, is not sufficient to convict of larceny in a building.”

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