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Name: People v. Cuellar
Case #: C056855
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/31/2008

Defendant who grabbed back check from store clerk was guilty of grand theft from the person. Cuellar attempted to purchase some cosmetics at Nordstrom using a previously signed check from Becker’s bank account. The sales clerk became suspicious and took the check to a back office. After a few minutes, Cuellar went to the back office to retrieve the check, grabbing it from the clerk’s hand. Becker later confirmed the check was his from an old account and that Cuellar did not have permission to use it. The jury found Cuellar guilty of several offenses, including grand theft from the person in violation of Penal Code section 487(c). On appeal, Cuellar argued that the conviction for grand theft based on taking back the bogus check is not supported by the evidence. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. The fictitious check had intrinsic value as a negotiable instrument that, if legally drawn, would entitle its holder to payment on demand. Thus, it was sufficient to support the conviction.