Criminal Law, Pages 441–444

Marsh v. Commonwealth

Court of Appeals of Virginia, 2011

Facts:

Defendant took his girlfriend's jewelry and pawned it, intending to get it back when he got paid the next day. When his girlfriend, Gazda, found out, she told defendant not to stay with her and called the police to report the items as stolen. Detective Buisch arranged for defendant to buy the items back, but after two to three weeks, defendant still had not come up with enough money for all the items. Buisch then placed a hold on the remaining items and returned them to Gazda.

Procedural History:

Defendant was convicted of grand larceny.

Issue:

Did defendant intend to permanently deprive Gazda of the jewelry?

Prosecution's Argument:

Since defendant's intended return was conditioned on receiving his paycheck, it was not an unconditional return and should be excluded.

Reasoning:

Intent to return does not have to be unconditional in this case because the condition was not placed on Gazda. However, the defendant would have needed $3,272.50 to redeem the property, while his paycheck would have have been for $2,000, and $800 of that went to paying other bills he was behind on. He could not have actually redeemed it. The evidence further shows this by his failure to do so in the time Detective Buisch gave him. He did not have the substantial ability to return the items, so he did not really intend to return them.

Holding:

Yes, defendant intended to permanently deprive Gazda of the jewelry because he did not intend to have the substantial ability to return it. Affirmed.

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