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Single larceny rule doesn't apply in case

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the denial of a man's petition for post-conviction relief, finding the defendant's trial counsel wasn't ineffective for arguing a single larceny rule defense because it wasn't applicable in this case.

In Lucius Walker v. State of Indiana, No. 02A03-0809-PC-452, Lucius Walker argued his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to argue his Class A felony robbery and Class B felony robbery convictions violated the single larceny rule. Walker and another man entered a gas station with a Wendy's restaurant inside and Walker robbed the Wendy's at the same time the other man robbed the gas station. Walker was convicted and sentenced to an aggregate 65-year sentence.

In his petition for post-conviction relief, Walker argues his trial counsel should have raised the single larceny rule because the gas station and the Wendy's were owned by the same corporation. The post-conviction court denied his petition.

The appellate court disagreed with his argument that because he and his accomplice robbed the gas station and Wendy's at the same time and the money belonged to the same corporation, only one robbery occurred. Walker relied on Williams v. State, 395 N.E.2d 239, 248 (Ind. 1979), and Lane v. State, 428 N.E.2d 28, 29 (Ind. 1981), but those cases dealt with the robbery of multiple tellers within a bank.

Walker and his accomplice didn't take money from the same place and the fact that both businesses are owned by the same corporation is unavailing, wrote Judge Paul Mathias. In fact, under Walker's interpretation of the single larceny rule, if two people agree to rob at the same time two separate restaurants owned by the same company, the individuals would only be guilty of one robbery.

The single larceny rule is inapplicable under the facts of this case and Walker's trial counsel wouldn't have succeeded in arguing Walker and his accomplice only committed one robbery, the judge wrote. Walker didn't establish his trial counsel was ineffective and the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief is affirmed.

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