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  1. #1
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    Aug 2011
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    Default Receiving Stolen Property Unknowingly

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: california

    Regarding a charge of receiving stolen property. Once a person has been arraigned,,,,can that charge be changed to something else? PC code 496 states that a person willingly knew that the item was stolen. What happens when the person bought the item on Craigs list and didnt know it was stolen? If the person is maintaining his innocence,,,,,didnt know it was stolen........how long can it go on that the DA is wanting this person to plead guilty and take a DEAL? The system cant keep bullying people into admiting guilt and take a deal if they are not guilty.

  2. #2
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    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: Receiving Stolen Property Unknowingly

    Charges can be amended any time until the first witness is called at the actual trial. It's entirely at the discretion of the prosecutor if they want to deal.
    The prosecutor will have to show that the defendant knew the item was stolen. It isn't limited to the time of the sale. If he finds out later the property is stolen and continues to withhold it from the owner, it is still a crime. Further, if you fit in the category of being a dealer (swap meet or other business that deals in collecting or buying such things) there is additional burden on you to assure you're not acquiring stolen material.
    You need a lawyer.

  3. #3
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    Aug 2011
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    Default Re: Receiving Stolen Property Unknowingly

    Unfortunately this person can't afford a lawyer. They are using the public defender. So many things are being sold on craigs list, people trying to make money to make ends meet and all...and buyers looking to save money.. a buyer would have no idea if it was stollen. They don't give receipts and all. And of course if the item is stollen they for sure aren't giving their right name either. Im sure there are tons of people buying off of craigs list stollen property. How could it be proven that this person even knew it was stollen? Penal code 496 states "the defendant KNOWINGLY was in possession of or receiving stolen property" . I've read where when this happens they can return the property to the owner and the case dismissed. I would think that district attorneys have bigger fish to fry than to pursue cases like these. (to which I bet there are tons).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    California
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    15,078

    Default Re: Receiving Stolen Property Unknowingly

    The state has to show that the defendant knew or reasonably should have known that the item was stolen. If you bought a $1,000 stereo system with the serial numbers filed off and the wires cut for $200 then a prosecutor will probably argue that you knew it was hot.

    People that buy stolen property encourage thieves selling it. Many people know the deal is too good to be true and still go through with it under the assumption that if they do not ask they can keep a clear conscience. These are the folks that allow this sort of stuff to continue.

    Craig's List can be a den of thieves. The crooks have largely left eBay because eBay tends to cooperate with the authorities and have gone to CL because it's the wild west there and getting info from CL can sometimes be a royal pain ... and, they do not collect a whole lot of data to begin with.

    I would never buy anything on Craig's List.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    13

    Default Re: Receiving Stolen Property Unknowingly

    Yup.....I think he realizes that now that craigs list is not the place to purchase anything. I'm hoping that they decide to drop the charges as he is not going to plead guilty to this charge. What is the next steps in court. He had an arraigment and what was called a pre -trial already. DA is offering him a deal to plead guilty but he won't do that as he isn't guilty. He didn't know it was stolen. I'm hoping that the public defender will really be an advocate for him as he can't afford an attorney. The have no proof he either knew it was or was not stolen. I have heard that the item could be returned to the owner and charges dropped. Is this true? Would seem to make sense since he bought it from someone on crags list. Why is it that the DA wants to make people plead guilty for something they didn't know? Don't they have bigger cases to go after than these types?
    .

  6. #6
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    Sep 2005
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    California
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    Default Re: Receiving Stolen Property Unknowingly

    Quote Quoting Crh
    View Post
    What is the next steps in court. He had an arraigment and what was called a pre -trial already.
    Sounds like the arraignment and the preliminary hearing. That means they went before a judge who determined that there was sufficient probable cause to support the allegations of receiving stolen property.

    The next step will be a trial. Though, there will likely be a readiness conference before that and there could be motion hearings and the like if they are necessary.

    Understand that people always claim they are not guilty even when they are. So your friend's protestations of innocence is not uncommon. However, if he sticks to his guns, maybe the DA will decide he does not have enough to go forward with. However, if your friend made any comments about it being a great deal, or the seller admitted it was stolen or said something akin to, "You don't really want to know where I got it, do you?" then your friend may be in hot water.

    None of us know the strength of the state's case. Only his defense attorney knows what the state has to throw at him.
    A Nor Cal Cop Sergeant

    "Make mine a double mocha ...
    And a croissant!"


    Seek justice,
    Love mercy,
    Walk humbly with your God

    -- Courageous, by Casting Crowns

  7. #7
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    Aug 2011
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    Default Re: Receiving Stolen Property Unknowingly

    Thank you Cdw.....you have been helpful.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Receiving Stolen Property Unknowingly

    How did the police come to find out that he was in possession of the stolen property?

    He claims to have purchased the item on craigslist - but... does he have a record of the ad? The seller's name, phone number, email? The payment? The place where the transaction occurred? Anything?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Default Re: Receiving Stolen Property Unknowingly

    There was a prelim hearing but now the case is being transferred to a central court....as my understandin is they don't do felony cases at the first court. They called the police officer to the stand, both sides questioned him. The pub def asked for the case to be dismissed. The judge said that the prosc had a very weak case. Could that judge dismissed the case right then or does that have to be done in the central court? The next thing shows as an arraignment at the central court but he had that done already at the first court. Why would the do that again? And can the new pub def at this next court date ask for a dismissal as they will read what was said at the prelim and the judge saying that the prosc had a very weak case and that the pub def asked for a dismissal?

  10. #10
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    Aug 2011
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    7

    Default Re: Receiving Stolen Property Unknowingly

    I would never buy anything from Craigslist, either. But I did use Craigslist to put the word out on a surfboard that was stolen from my vehicle in front of my home. It was a custom board and worth over 500 dollars. I put up an ad with pictures and information. Strangely enough, the board was returned- to my back yard- a month later. I have no proof of this but I believe the thief may have considered selling it on CL and saw my ad and figured they'd better return it- especially since I listed the local police case number, also!

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