Commonwealth v. Bruhn

The Facts

The defendant, Bruhn, was an employee of other person who operated under the trade name. The third party asked the defendant to refinish her antique furniture. He and his employer did perform the job together. The client paid the defendant for service in person and the employer was not aware of the payment until it was confirmed by the client personally. The defendant told his employer that he had the check from that client but never gave it to him.

Procedural History

The Supreme Court of Virginia affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals dismissing the conviction.


In result of recent reforms the Virginia’s legislature made a clear difference between embezzlement and larceny. Could be “indicted as for larceny” evinces a clear legislative intent to prohibit that former practice and require specificity in the indictment. However, the second sentence of Va. Code Ann. § 18.2-111 associates embezzlement and larceny only for the limited purpose of punishment according to the larceny statutes.

The Issue

Whether defendant’s acts constituted grand larceny as it judged by the initial trial court.

The Holding/Reasoning

The Supreme Court of Virginia supported the decision of the Court of Appeals that the evidence was insufficient to convict defendant of grand larceny, under the common law definition of that crime, by want of proof of a trespassory taking. The court indicated amendments to the Virginia’s statute which eliminated a phrase that made proof of embezzlement sufficient to sustain a larceny charge. The court admitted that “the Commonwealth failed to prove defendant committed the crime charged in the indictment, larceny, and it could not claim his conviction of the elements of embezzlement sustained a larceny conviction.”

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