Many theft crimes involve an element of intent. In other words, in order for the State to prove the defendant’s guilt, it must show that the defendant willfully took the property of another person or entity. In a recent opinion, a Michigan court explained the evidence needed to prove a defendant committed theft from an Indian gaming establishment, which in the case in question was charged as a misdemeanor crime. If you are charged with a theft crime, it is in your best interest to speak to a knowledgeable Michigan criminal defense attorney regarding your rights.
The Charges Against the Defendant
It is reported that the defendants were charged with theft from an Indian gaming establishment, and aiding and abetting such theft, in violation of federal law. The defendants entered into a stipulation with the prosecution in which they agreed that each element of the alleged offenses had been satisfied except for one. Thus, the prosecution merely had to establish that the defendants stole funds, money, or property that belonged to an Indian gaming establishment. The matter ultimately proceeded to a bench trial, after which the court concluded that the prosecution had proven the defendants’ guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Evidence Needed to Establish Guilt in a Theft Case
Under the applicable law, anyone that takes and carries away or willfully misapplies any property or money that belongs to an establishment licensed or operated by an Indian tribe that is valued at $1,000 or less can be fined or imprisoned. As such, to convict a person of theft from an Indian gaming establishment, the Government must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant willfully took or misapplied property or money that belonged to an Indian establishment with the intent to steal. Continue Reading ›