Theft is one of the most common crimes, if not the most common, charged in Maryland and tried by Maryland Criminal Attorneys. Excluding complicated fraud and white collar thefts, most of these cases are run of the mill in terms of the facts, the law and the outcome and rarely pose much of an intellectual challenge for the attorneys handling the case. I had a theft case this morning, however, in Baltimore City Circuit Court that had a rather unique issue that posed a bit of a challenge and made the case much more interesting that the average theft case. First the law.
There are only two elements to the crime of theft and they are both simple and logical. The elements are that property must be taken from another and that it must be taken with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of that property. The issue in the case went to element number two, whether or not my client intended to permanently deprive the owner of the property in question. The specific issue involved, and was ultimately resolved upon, a somewhat arcane legal concept known as asportation. Essentially what it means is that there must be an attempt by a would be thief to carry the property away from the area where the property was originally taken in order to complete the crime of theft. In other words it is not sufficient for the State to prove that the alleged thief merely took possession of the property that did not belong to him without the permission of the owner; there is the additional requirement that the State prove that the alleged thief moved the property from its original location or at least made an attempt to do so. More on the law in a moment but first, here are the facts of the case: