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Name: People v. Anderson
Case #: D063648
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/13/2015
Summary

A claim-of-right defense does not extend to a defendant who acts forcibly to recover property as an agent of the property’s rightful owner. A jury convicted Anderson of residential burglary, robbery, and other offenses based on evidence he forcibly retrieved his cousin’s electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card from a third person. On appeal he claimed the trial court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on the defense of claim of right. Held: Affirmed. The claim-of-right defense negates the felonious intent required for robbery when the defendant had a good faith belief he had a claim of right to the property he takes from another. It may not be asserted with respect to property that is involved in an illegal transaction, or where robberies are perpetrated to satisfy a debt—whether liquidated or unliquidated—as opposed to specific items of the defendant’s personal property. In addition, there is a strong public policy against forcible self-help. The instruction was properly refused because Anderson did not believe that he had a lawful claim to the EBT card.