Oswald Defense Lawyer

"His mouth is in his brain"

Friday, October 12, 2007

Boo-Tay! Part Two

A while back, I successfully argued that a client convicted of petty theft (of medical marijuana plants--not a "farm crop," but that's a another story) could not also be convicted of felony receiving stolen property. That argument was based on the 1962 case of People v. Tatum, which held quite clearly that a thief cannot be convicted of receiving his own booty; in other words, felony receiving was a greater included offense of petty theft.

In 1992, the receiving statute was revised, such that "no person may be convicted [of receiving stolen property] and of the theft of the same property."

Notwithstanding the logic of Tatum---i.e., anyone who steals property is necessarily in receipt of that property, and thus the "greater" inclusive offense of theft is actually less severely punished than the included offense of receiving, the Fourth District held last week, in People v. Ceja, that the 1992 amendment "permits a person who is the thief to be convicted of receiving the same stolen property."

So it's official: A thief can be convicted of concealing his own booty.