People v. Navarro
Defendant was charged with stealing four beams from a construction site. There was some evidence that he believed they were worthless and abandoned however.
Trial court instructed the jury to find defendant guilty even if he had a good faith belief that he had the right to take the beams, unless such belief was reasonable. He was convicted of petty theft.
Was defendant required to have a specific criminal intent?
Both precedent and other jurisdictions hold that if a specific intent is required for a crime, it must be proven that the defendant had such a specific intent, not merely that a reasonable person would have. One cannot feloniously steal that which he believes he owns. There is no larceny by negligence.
If one has a good faith belief that he has the right to take something, he must be acquitted of theft even if such a belief is objectively unreasonable.
Yes, it had to have been proven that defendant had a specific criminal intent. Reversed.