State v. Desimone

The Facts

The defendant, Jack Desimone, has allegedly committed larceny in the first degree by receiving various items of stolen property and larceny in the fourth degree by receiving certain other items of stolen property in violation of relevant parts of the Connecticut General Statutes.

Procedural History

The Supreme Court of Connecticut reversed defendant’s convictions of larceny in the first and the fourth degrees. The case was remanded for a new trial.

Rule

A person is guilty of larceny in the first degree when he commits larceny as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-119 and: (1) The property or service, regardless of its nature and value, is obtained by extortion, (2) the value of the property or service exceeds $10,000, (3) the property consists of a motor vehicle, the value of which exceeds $10,000, or (4) the property is obtained by defrauding a public community, and the value of such property exceeds $2,000.

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-125 provides: Larceny in the fourth degree: Class A misdemeanor. (a) A person is guilty of larceny in the fourth degree when he commits larceny as defined in Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-119 and the value of the property or service exceeds $ 500 (b) Larceny in the fourth degree is a class A misdemeanor.

When the value of property or services cannot be satisfactorily ascertained pursuant to the standards set forth in this section, its value shall be deemed to be an amount less than $ 50 (b) Amounts included in thefts committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same person or several persons, may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense [Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53-121].

The Issue

Whether there was sufficient factual evidence to charge the defendant with the first and the fourth degrees of larceny.

The Holding/Reasoning

The Supreme Court of Connecticut held that, according to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-121(b), in order to aggregate the value of multiple items of stolen property in arriving at a degree of larceny, the state had to show that the perpetrator received the property pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct. The court asserted further that the instructions for jury were applicable to the crime of larceny by receiving stolen property and, as such, it was error to have omitted them. The court came to the conclusion that “it was not clear that the jury found that the value of even one item of property met the threshold for a larceny conviction, and there was not enough evidence to show that the property was taken as part of one scheme.”

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