Thief or Innocent Mover

MD, a 52 year old man from Winchester, was accused of stealing his daughter’s roommate’s lap top computer. He was charged in Malden District Court with larceny over $250 (a felony). A conviction would have cost him his job. The police accused him of stealing the lap top from the victim’s apartment and then giving it to his daughter’s mother to sell. He absolutely denied any intent to steal and claimed that he had taken the computer in the mistaken belief that it belonged to his daughter. His daughter was moving out of the apartment and had enlisted the help of her father in moving her stuff out. He honestly believed that the lap top belonged to his daughter. In Massachusetts larceny requires proof of an intent to steal. The law in Massachusetts is that if you take another person’s property in an honest and reasonable belief that another person on whose behalf you are acting had a legal right to the property – even if that belief was in fact mistaken – then you are entitled to be found not guilty because you lacked an intent to steal. MD’s case was scheduled for jury trial on April 13, 2010. MD and Attorney Lewin appeared at Court ready for trial and the DA’s Office dismissed the case.

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