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Brief Fact Summary. The Appellant, Brown (Appellant), was charged with the crime of burglary after taking the bicycle of a young boy. This appeal to the Supreme Court of California involves a jury charge concerning the elements of larceny that must be proven in order for a conviction to occur.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. In order to find a defendant guilty of the crime of larceny, it must be proven that the intent of the defendant was to permanently deprive the owner of possession of the property that was taken. An intent merely to take the property temporarily will not be sufficient to support a conviction on a charge of larceny.
While the felonious intent of the party taking need not necessarily be an intention to convert the property to his own use, still it must in all cases be an intent to wholly and permanently deprive the owner thereof.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Can the trial court jury charge involving an instruction that larceny may be found even through a temporary taking stand?
Held. Since the Appellant only intended to remove the bicycle for a short period of time, rather than keeping it permanently, the conviction as to the larceny charge shall not stand because the jury instruction in the lower court was erroneous.
Discussion. The court did find that although the larceny charge could not stand because the intent of the Appellant was merely to deprive the bicycle owner of possession temporarily, the Appellant could be convicted of trespass. What is important in this case is determining the mens rea of the accused. The mens rea for larceny involves an intent to wholly and permanently deprive an owner of property. Anything less than permanent intent will not provide the mens rea necessary for a larceny conviction.