Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, February 28, 2019


Page 4


Court of Appeal:

Value of Property Received From Two Thefts Can’t Be Combined to Create Felony


By a MetNews Staff Writer


A man who received stolen property from two clothing stores should have been charged with two misdemeanor counts, rather that the value of the goods being added together, with the charge being receipt of stolen property worth in excess of $950, a felony, the First District Court of Appeal declared yesterday.

Justice Tracie L. Brown of Div. Four wrote the opinion. It directs that defendant Darius Brown’s felony conviction pursuant to Penal Code §496 be reduced to a misdemeanor and that he be resentenced.

The clothing was found in defendant Brown’s possession after he was subjected to a traffic stop. It was determined that items that had been stolen from a Calvin Klein storehad a value of $754 and those taken from a Ralph Lauren store were worth $206.84.

The jurist said:

“Because neither the value of the goods from the Ralph Lauren store nor the value of the goods from the Calvin Klein store exceeded $950, there was insufficient evidence to support Brown’s felony conviction under section 496. Brown’s receipt of the stolen property in question could have been charged as two misdemeanors under section 496, but not a single felony.”

The defendant’s alternate argument—that under the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014 (Proposition 47), he should have been charged with misdemeanor shoplifting—was rejected. Penal Code §459.5, created by that measure, the justice said, requires a charge of shoplifting, rather than burglary, where goods are taken from a store that have a value of not more than $950.

 Where §459.5 applies, she wrote, the prosecutor “must charge shoplifting and shoplifting alone.” She added:

“Here, on the other hand, the prosecution charged Brown with neither shoplifting nor burglary; instead, Brown was charged with receiving stolen property under section 496.  Taking into account both the context and plain language of section 495.5, no issue arises under that statute in the instant case.”

The case is People v. Brown, A153191.


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