Tuesday, August 1, 2017
C.A. Rejects Inventive Argument by Store Robber
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Fourth District Court of Appeal has rejected a criminal defendant’s contention that he was guilty of shoplifting, not robbery, because the security guard on whom he committed a battery was acting in violation of store policy when he embarked on a chase beyond 100 yards from the store and engaged in physical contact, and was therefore not an agent of the employer.
Justice William W. Bedsworth of Div. Three wrote the opinion, which was not certified for publication. It affirms the conviction in Orange Superior Court of Ryan Patrick Alvarez not only for the assault on the guard—who caught up with him after Alvarez fled from a Kohl’s store with merchandise tucked in his trousers and was beaten by the pilferer—but also for second degree robbery.
Bedsworth noted that robbery is defined, in Penal Code §211, as “the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear.”
The jurist quoted the California Supreme Court as saying in its 2009 opinion in People v. Scott:
“Although not every employee has the authority to exercise control over the employer’s funds or other property during everyday operations of the business, any employee has, by virtue of his or her employment relationship with the employer, some implied authority, when on duty, to act on the employer’s behalf to protect the employer’s property when it is threatened during a robbery.”
“If fast food employees having no internal authority over money were held to have had constructive possession of money in their employer’s safe in Scott, how much more so did the officer here, whose very job was to protect his employer’s property. We note in this regard section 50 of the Civil Code, which provides that “[a]ny necessary force” may be used by an employee to protect the property of his or her employer.
But we will add this: Whether or not, strictly speaking, the officer was acting within the authority given him by Kohl’s, is irrelevant….Kohl’s property was within the officer’s constructive possession under Scott, even if he was violating internal Kohl’s rules to go after Alvarez.”
With respect to Civil Code §50, he said, in a footnote:
“It is a short statute, which provides: ‘Any necessary force may be used to protect from wrongful injury the person or property of oneself, or of a spouse, child, parent, or other relative, or member of one’s family, or of a ward, servant, master, or guest.’ We need only note that it was first written in 1872 and still uses the archaic ‘master’ to denote employer.”
The case is People v. Alvarez, G053325.
Copyright 2017, Metropolitan News Company