Wednesday, December 23, 2015

How It's Tested: Larceny

I've written a few posts about larceny here on the blog. In today's post I'll be focusing on a very specific way that the crime is tested in some questions. Larceny is the taking and carrying away of the personal property of another with the intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of his/her property. Oftentimes questions will play on one element, and that element will be the deciding factor as to whether a charge of larceny is proper. And sometimes the reason why larceny is an improper charge is because the property taken actually belonged to the person taking the property, rather than belonging to "another."

But I want to focus here on a specific type of question in which even though a person is merely reclaiming his/her own property, a charge of larceny is still proper. It is possible to commit larceny of your own property if another person (for example, a bailee) has a superior right to possession of the property at the time you (the owner of the property) attempt to reclaim it. For example, if someone has performed work on a piece of personal property and all that remains is payment for the work completed, then the owner of the property can commit larceny if the owner takes that property from the person who completed the work without providing payment for the work completed, provided all other elements of the crime are satisfied.

And of course if the owner sends someone to reclaim the property, the analysis is the same. One cannot escape a charge of larceny simply because one sends another to perform the acts that constitute the crime.

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