3
   

Innocent Holder of Stolen Property

 
 
gollum
 
Reply Sat 7 Apr, 2007 06:58 am
"Person One" owns an item of property.

"Person Two" steals the property.

"Person Two" then sells the property to "Person Three." "Person Three" does not know it to be stolen and has no reason to be suspicious.

"Person 1" then finds that "Person 3" has his property. Does "Person 3" have to return it and should he be paid?
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 8,260 • Replies: 22
No top replies

 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Sat 7 Apr, 2007 07:09 am
Yes, the property has to be returned. And, Person #3 might be on the hook for receiving stolen property.
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Apr, 2007 07:13 am
jespah, what if #3 doesn't know it's stolen. I figure #3 would have to return the merchandise, but would they still be an accessory to the crime?
0 Replies
 
jespah
 
  2  
Reply Sat 7 Apr, 2007 07:22 am
A court would have to determine that. It's been quite a while since I studied this but I believe it's not just out and out knowledge, e. g. someone saying, "hey, man, that stuff is stolen" but more like you should have known because of your dealings with a particular supplier. Knowledge and intent are always tricky areas of the law, often with volumes of case law just on that.
0 Replies
 
Gala
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Apr, 2007 07:26 am
I was thinking along the lines of buying the stolen property at a yard sale without knowing it's hot, which is something I could see myself doing, although I wouldn't be purchasing car speakers, more like the odd knick-knack I just had to have.

I can see it now-- thrown in the slammer for buying the salt and pepper shakers in the shape of Florida.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Apr, 2007 07:37 am
No, but if you bought a Rolex from a guy who has twenty of them pinned to the inside of his trench coat then you shoulda known something was not kosher.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Apr, 2007 08:23 am
JPB- THAT'S another story. If you buy a "Rolex" that way, chances are it isn't even a real Rolex!
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 7 Apr, 2007 08:31 am
More like a "Polex".
0 Replies
 
Madisonian Dilemma
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Apr, 2007 11:19 am
Re: Innocent Holder of Stolen Property
gollum wrote:
"Person One" owns an item of property.

"Person Two" steals the property.

"Person Two" then sells the property to "Person Three." "Person Three" does not know it to be stolen and has no reason to be suspicious.

"Person 1" then finds that "Person 3" has his property. Does "Person 3" have to return it and should he be paid?


It is largely contingent upon how the statute is written and the mental requirement in the statute.

Let's look at an Indiana Statute as an example. Indiana Code 35-43-4-2 which in relevant part reads: (b) A person who knowingly or intentionally receives, retains, or disposes of the property of another person that has been the subject of theft commits receiving stolen property, a Class D felony. However, the offense is a Class C felony if the fair market value of the property is at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).

Now it may appear there is not a requirement of "knowing" the property is stolen. However, Indiana Code 35-41-2-2 reads as follows: (d) Unless the statute defining the offense provides otherwise, if a kind of culpability is required for commission of an offense, it is required with respect to every material element of the prohibited conduct.


So at least in Indiana, there is the requirement the defendant have knowledge the property he/she received, retained, or disposed of was the subject of a theft.

The same statute defines knowingly and intentionally as follows: (a) A person engages in conduct "intentionally" if, when he engages in the conduct, it is his conscious objective to do so.

(b) A person engages in conduct "knowingly" if, when he engages in the conduct, he is aware of a high probability that he is doing so.


So essentially, it is really going to be predicated upon how your jurisdiction defines the elements of the crime and where the mens rea is attached to those elements. In Indiana, if the state cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant "knew" the items to be the subject of the theft, or any other mental requirement, then a not guilty should be rendered as no crime was proven to have occurred as defined by statute.
0 Replies
 
gollum
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Apr, 2007 06:19 pm
Innocent Holder of Stolen Property
Madisonian Dilemma-
Thank you for your answer.

However, I believe you have answered a question about criminal law.

I asked, "Does "Person 3" have to return it and should he be paid?" That is a question about civil law.

I have read of various parties who purchased expensive works of art. As far as I know they believed the prior owner had good title to the object(s) and the right to sell them. Some of these purchasers are museums. Then it is proven that the art was stolen by the Nazis and victim of the theft wants the art work back.

I think it serves the cause of justice if the art can be returned to the victim. But the intermediate owner is then out a large sum of money and it did no wrong.
0 Replies
 
Madisonian Dilemma
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Apr, 2007 07:38 am
Re: Innocent Holder of Stolen Property
gollum wrote:
Madisonian Dilemma-
Thank you for your answer.

However, I believe you have answered a question about criminal law.

I asked, "Does "Person 3" have to return it and should he be paid?" That is a question about civil law.

I have read of various parties who purchased expensive works of art. As far as I know they believed the prior owner had good title to the object(s) and the right to sell them. Some of these purchasers are museums. Then it is proven that the art was stolen by the Nazis and victim of the theft wants the art work back.

I think it serves the cause of justice if the art can be returned to the victim. But the intermediate owner is then out a large sum of money and it did no wrong.


Oh...I am sorry Gollum. I confused your post with Gala's when she asked if the individual would be an "accessory" to the crime. So essentially, I answered Gala's question.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Apr, 2007 07:51 am
Re: Innocent Holder of Stolen Property
gollum wrote:
Madisonian Dilemma-
Thank you for your answer.

However, I believe you have answered a question about criminal law.

I asked, "Does "Person 3" have to return it and should he be paid?" That is a question about civil law.


I don't see how you figure it is a matter of if civil law. Theft and receiving stolen property are criminal offenses. That pretty much moves it into the realm of criminal law.

Quote:
I have read of various parties who purchased expensive works of art. As far as I know they believed the prior owner had good title to the object(s) and the right to sell them. Some of these purchasers are museums. Then it is proven that the art was stolen by the Nazis and victim of the theft wants the art work back.

I think it serves the cause of justice if the art can be returned to the victim. But the intermediate owner is then out a large sum of money and it did no wrong.


This sort of thing can quickly get into other issues. Art theft in particular, often deals with International Law, Treaties, etc.. amongst multiple jurisdictions. There are also some customary practices within the art world for dealing with this sort of thing that have nothing to do with law at all.

There are often arranged agreements between parties in art thefts so that an unwitting purchaser gets some sort of compenstation but that comes in along-side any possible criminal actions.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Apr, 2007 08:14 am
Re: Innocent Holder of Stolen Property
fishin wrote:
gollum wrote:
Madisonian Dilemma-
Thank you for your answer.

However, I believe you have answered a question about criminal law.

I asked, "Does "Person 3" have to return it and should he be paid?" That is a question about civil law.


I don't see how you figure it is a matter of if civil law. Theft and receiving stolen property are criminal offenses. That pretty much moves it into the realm of criminal law.

Well, no, it's not a matter of criminal law if it is just a dispute between the original owner and the current possessor. And if the current possessor was unaware of the property's status at the time of the purchase, then there may be no criminal liability at all. The only way, then, that the original owner could get back the property would be to sue the current possessor in a civil action.
0 Replies
 
Bella Dea
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Apr, 2007 08:24 am
Once you find out it's stolen property, you aren't innocent anymore.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Apr, 2007 08:25 am
Re: Innocent Holder of Stolen Property
gollum wrote:
Madisonian Dilemma-
Thank you for your answer.

However, I believe you have answered a question about criminal law.

I asked, "Does "Person 3" have to return it and should he be paid?" That is a question about civil law.

I have read of various parties who purchased expensive works of art. As far as I know they believed the prior owner had good title to the object(s) and the right to sell them. Some of these purchasers are museums. Then it is proven that the art was stolen by the Nazis and victim of the theft wants the art work back.

I think it serves the cause of justice if the art can be returned to the victim. But the intermediate owner is then out a large sum of money and it did no wrong.

The basic rule is that a thief cannot pass good title to a third-party purchaser. Now, that rule is somewhat modified in the case of negotiable paper, but since we're talking about works of art here, the general rule applies. So the original owner still has the legal title to the property, even if it is bought from a thief by an innocent third-party.

So, let's say that the original owner sues the third-party purchaser to get the artwork back. What are the third-party's options? Well, he can turn around and sue the thief who sold the stolen artwork. That often is not an option, either because the thief has no assets or because, in the case of art stolen by the Nazis, the thieves are well beyond the reach of the law. A smart, cautious art purchaser would purchase through a gallery or auction house that might insure or bond their sales, so that the purchaser could recover either from the dealer or from the insurer. On the other hand, a person or institution that acquires a work of art from the friendly neighborhood Gauleiter probably has no excuse for not questioning the work's provenance.
0 Replies
 
Madisonian Dilemma
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Apr, 2007 09:38 am
Re: Innocent Holder of Stolen Property
gollum wrote:
"Person One" owns an item of property.

"Person Two" steals the property.

"Person Two" then sells the property to "Person Three." "Person Three" does not know it to be stolen and has no reason to be suspicious.

"Person 1" then finds that "Person 3" has his property. Does "Person 3" have to return it and should he be paid?


Under some circumstances the answer is "yes" and the thief would owe to the person who paid for the stolen item some form of compensation/restitution in the amount "paid" by the individual.
0 Replies
 
Madisonian Dilemma
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Apr, 2007 09:48 am
Re: Innocent Holder of Stolen Property
Madisonian Dilemma wrote:
gollum wrote:
"Person One" owns an item of property.

"Person Two" steals the property.

"Person Two" then sells the property to "Person Three." "Person Three" does not know it to be stolen and has no reason to be suspicious.

"Person 1" then finds that "Person 3" has his property. Does "Person 3" have to return it and should he be paid?


Under some circumstances the answer is "yes" and the thief would owe to the person who paid for the stolen item some form of compensation/restitution in the amount "paid" by the individual.


Now there is one caveat....in some contexts, such as the third party possessing the item for some protracted period of time, the third party may not be required to surrender the item.

The best example is the case of a watch stolen by an individual. Several months pass before the victim notices an individual wearing a watch bearing certain physical features as his watch. He approaches the individual in the restaurant and confirms, after examining the watch, it was the watch stolen from him. The individual refused to give him the watch asserting he had paid for it. The victim sued the individual for possession of the watch or compensation and the court denied his claim. The court asserted as a result of the passage of time, he was now the rightful owner and the individual to go after to seek compensation was the "thief."

Of course, one can question whether or not this same logic would apply to big ticket items such as cars, washers, dryers, televisions, and so forth. But in this case, it is obvious the court had a difficult time depriving the individual wearing the watch as he would then suffer a loss through no fault of his own and placed the burden of being compensated on the victim.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Apr, 2007 10:06 am
Re: Innocent Holder of Stolen Property
Madisonian Dilemma wrote:
The best example is the case of a watch stolen by an individual. Several months pass before the victim notices an individual wearing a watch bearing certain physical features as his watch. He approaches the individual in the restaurant and confirms, after examining the watch, it was the watch stolen from him. The individual refused to give him the watch asserting he had paid for it. The victim sued the individual for possession of the watch or compensation and the court denied his claim. The court asserted as a result of the passage of time, he was now the rightful owner and the individual to go after to seek compensation was the "thief."

Do you have a cite or a link to this case?
0 Replies
 
Madisonian Dilemma
 
  1  
Reply Wed 25 Apr, 2007 12:12 pm
Yes and I can obtain it for you. I will have to pull out my first year tort book.
0 Replies
 
OGIONIK
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 May, 2007 01:53 am
if you have stolen property, and find out it is stolen, and return it, are you still under risk of criminal charges?

wow i cant believe im asking this, but law today is so retarded i feel compelled to.
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » Innocent Holder of Stolen Property
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 10/28/2021 at 12:13:10