Criminal law, downstate edition

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You gotta love downstate law. From People v. Pierce, a case decided October 18 by the Illinois Supreme Court:

"On September 13, 2004, Robert Gallaher was sitting at the bar in the Silver Moon Tavern in Quincy, Illinois, drinking beer. Gallaher had placed $50 on the bar in front of him and, after he paid for his drinks, several bills remained on the bar. Gallaher testified he had his hand on the money while he sat at the bar.

"Defendant entered the Silver Moon and walked up to Gallaher, the only patron in the tavern. Gallaher testified that defendant offered to sell him cigarettes, but he declined. The two then engaged in conversation for several minutes. At one point, Gallaher removed his hand from the money to light a cigarette. Defendant then grabbed the money and ran out of the tavern."

The defendant got six years for felony "theft from the person." What occupied the state supremes in this case was whether sweeping someone else's change off the bar was meant to be felony theft, or just the lesser crime of misdemeanor theft. Brief summary here; free registration required to see the full 12-page opinion. It could be important reading if you're trying to limit your life of crime to petty theft.

 

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