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Name: People v. MacArthur
Case #: G035368
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 08/24/2006

A conviction for receiving stolen property must be reversed where the jury was not instructed with the definitions of “stolen” and “theft.” Penal Code section 496, subdivision (a), requires that the property be stolen or obtained by theft, i.e., taken with the intent of depriving the owner of possession for a sufficiently extended time. Here, some evidence suggested that the property had been taken without the requisite intent. The appellant’s girlfriend had given him her mother’s jewelry to pawn, and the evidence showed that the appellant did not have the mother’s permission to pawn the jewelry, but the girlfriend had pawned her mother’s jewelry many times before and her mother had always been able to retrieve the jewelry. The court thus had a duty to instruct the jury sua sponte with a definition of “stolen” and “theft,” including the requirement that the defendant harbor an intent to deprive the owner of ownership.