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Brief Fact Summary. Appellant was convicted of larceny after he entered an acquaintance’s house and took a bicycle. Appellant claims he did not intend to keep the bicycle, and therefore, he is not guilty of larceny.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. In order to be found guilty of larceny, an accused must have intended to permanently deprive the owner of his property.
Issue. Were the judge’s instructions erroneous when he told the jury an individual can be found guilty of larceny if he intends to temporarily deprive the owner of his property?
Held. Yes. The order is reversed and the cause remanded for a new trial.
If the boy’s story is true, then he is not guilty of larceny for taking the bicycle. However, under the court’s instruction, his very testimony convicted him. The court told the jury that larceny can be committed where a party’s intention was to temporarily deprive the owner of his property. The instruction concerning the man taking the horse is too broad in its terms as stating a correct principle of law.
Whether this fictitious person is guilty of larceny is a question of fact for the jury. If an individual does not intend to permanently deprive an owner of his property, his acts constitute a trespass. We think past authorities have established the bright line rule that an accused must have intended to permanently deprive the owner of his property in order to sustain a conviction for larceny.
Discussion. The felonious intent of the party accused of larceny must be to permanently deprive the owner of his property, but there does not need to be an intention to convert the property to his own use.