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Court Discusses Criminal Intention in Will Forgery Case

This was a certiorari case filed before the court by the petitioner, a former war veteran, who was charged and indicted for conversion of government property.

A New York Probate Lawyer said the large tract of Michigan land was used by government for practice bombing range where the Air Force dropped simulated bombs at the ground targets. The range was also known for extensive hunting of deer. The used bomb casings were cleared from the targets and were piled up and dumped in heaps for several years and was exposed to weather conditions and became rusted.

The petitioner went deer hunting in the area and salvaged some of the casings as a means to lessen his expenses for the trip. He loaded three tons of the used bomb casings into his truck and flattened them by a tractor at a nearby farm. He sold the flattened casings to a market. He was a fruit stand operator and a trucker and scrap iron collector.

A New York Will Lawyer said the investigation was conducted and the former war veteran disclosed his activities to the authorities and said that he had no intention of stealing the abandoned and unwanted used bomb casings being and deemed worthless. He was indicted and charged in violation of the statute for stealing government property, which is punishable by fine and imprisonment. The accused was then convicted and sentence to imprisonment of two months or to pay a fine of $200.

The defendant asserted that the casings were cast-off and abandoned, as such; he had no intention to steal the property and took them without wrongful intent. But the Court of Appeals sustained that conviction since the offense committed does not require criminal intent as an element of the crime.
As appraised by a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court “as a rule there can be no crime without a criminal intent, but this is not by any means a universal rule. * * * Many statutes which are in the nature of police regulations, as this is, impose criminal penalties irrespective of any intent to violate them, the purpose being to require a degree of diligence for the protection of the public which shall render violation impossible.” There are several statutes passed by the Congress that do not require criminal intent as one of the elements of the crime being punished. These are considered regulatory measures to promote social betterment as opposed to the punishment of the crimes considered as mala in se. This was also referred in a jurisprudence, which recognized another type of legislation “whereby penalties serve as effective means of regulation,” and “such legislation dispenses with the conventional requirement for criminal conduct awareness of some wrongdoing. In the interest of the larger good it puts the burden of acting at hazard upon a person otherwise innocent but standing in responsible relation to a public danger.”

However, a Brooklyn Probate Lawyer said crimes pertaining to stealing, larceny, and its variants and equivalents are considered as violations of rights of property that imply criminal intent. As source revealed that “the argument does not contest that criminal intent is retained in the offenses of embezzlement, stealing and purloining, as incorporated into this section.” Thus, the court construed that criminal intent is required for the crime to which the defendant was charged with. Such intent must not be presumed but rather must be established with sufficient evidence during conduct of the trial and submitted to the jury. Before a person can be convicted of a crime and to constitute guilt, there must be showing of not only a wrongful act, but also of criminal intention. Proof must be submitted during the hearing before the court and the jury to be able to establish such facts.

A Bronx Probate Lawyer said every person accused of a crime has the constitutional right of being presumed innocent until proven guilty. If you are experiencing false accusation and wrongful charge of a criminal offense, you will need the assistance of a criminal lawyer to help clear your name and dismiss your case in court. Stephen Bilkis and Associates have grand larceny attorneys that could render legal service to assist you with any of your legal dilemmas.

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