Articles Posted in Theft Crimes

There is an element of intent in many theft crimes. To put it another way, the State must demonstrate that the defendant willfully stole the property of another person or individual in order to prove the defendant’s guilt. A Michigan court recently clarified the facts needed to show a defendant’s intent in cases involving theft, in a matter in which the defendant was accused of stealing from an Indian gaming establishment. If you have been charged with a theft offense, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Michigan criminal defense lawyer about your options.

The Accusations Against the Defendant

Allegedly, the defendants were accused of stealing from an Indian gaming establishment and assisting in the commission of such theft in violation of federal law. The defendants and the prosecutors reached an agreement in which they decided that all but one of the elements of the alleged crimes had been met. As a result, at trial, the prosecution solely needed to demonstrate that the defendants deprived an Indian gaming establishment of funds, property, or money. The case eventually went to a jury trial, where the court determined that the prosecution had proved the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Evidence of Guilt in Theft Cases

Under federal law, anyone who takes and carries away, or intentionally misapplies, property or money valued at $1,000 or less that belongs to an Indian tribe’s licensed or controlled may be fined or imprisoned under the applicable statute. As a result, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendants willfully stole or misapplied property or money belonging to an Indian gaming establishment with the intent to steal in order to convict them of theft from an Indian gaming establishment. Continue reading

People accused of crimes typically know that they are not required to testify at trial. People often do not understand, though, that while defendants cannot be forced to offer defenses against the prosecution’s claims, they do have a statutory right to mount a defense. If that right is violated, it may constitute a basis for granting a new trial. A Michigan court recently explained how an appellate court assesses whether a trial court violated a defendant’s right to offer a defense in an opinion issued in an assault case. If you’ve been charged with assault, you should speak with a Michigan criminal defense lawyer about your options.

Arrest and Trial of the Defendant

It is alleged that following a fight with two women, the defendant was charged with multiple assault offenses. The defendant acknowledged that he had a disagreement with the alleged victims, but claimed that they conspired to make false accusations against him. The first woman, on the other hand, said the defendant tried to stab her, pointed a gun at her, and scratched her face, while the second woman claimed the defendant threw her to the ground and attacked her with a knife. The defendant was found guilty as charged by a jury. He filed an appeal, claiming, among other things, that the trial court infringed on his constitutional right to present a defense by barring evidence about other acts.

Defendant’s Rights in Criminal Matters

The appellate court dismissed the defendant’s appeal after reviewing the facts. The court clarified that a defendant must raise the question of whether a trial court’s evidentiary decision deprived him of the right to present a defense at the trial level, in order to preserve the issue for appeal. In the case at hand, the defendant neglected to argue at trial that the testimony in question was admissible under Michigan Rules of Evidence or that his right to present a defense was violated because it was not admitted. Continue reading

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