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COA: Theft and auto theft adjudications didn’t violate single larceny rule

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A teen lost an appeal challenging his adjudication as a delinquent on charges that would be theft and auto theft if committed by an adult violated the single larceny rule.

The youth burglarized an Indianapolis home and stole a Chevy Avalanche truck and several personal items including a handgun, iPod and television. He was adjudicated a delinquent for burglary, which would be a Class B felony if committed by an adult; theft, which would be a Class D felony if committed by an adult; auto theft, which would be a Class D felony if committed by an adult; and resisting law enforcement, which would be a Class A misdemeanor if committed by an adult.

On appeal in J.R. v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1204-JV-175, J.R. cites Stout v. State, 479 N.E.2d 563 (Ind. 1985), to argue his true findings for theft and auto theft cannot stand. In Stout, the court ruled that a defendant could not be charged with multiple violations of the same theft statute.

“But here, true findings were made as to theft and auto theft, which are different offenses and violations of different statutes. We conclude that the crimes of theft and auto theft are distinct offenses, and J.R.’s true findings for both offenses did not violate the single larceny rule,” Judge James Kirsch wrote in affirming the Marion Superior Court ruling.

 

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  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

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