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Criminal Law Keyed to Gershowitz
State v. Donaldson
Citation:663 N.W.2d 882.
At 1:50 a.m., a police officer saw a van with its sliding door partially open. The officer illuminated the van. As he walked towards the van, the brake lights flashed. Two men started to run. The officer gave chase, but was unable to find them. Upon returning to his squad car, the officer saw the steering column in the van had been forcibly removed and there were wires protruding from it. The radio was on and the “check engine” sign was lit on the console. Later, one of the men was found and identified as the defendant, Dean Lester Donaldson.
At trial, one of the officers testified that Donaldson had engaged all of the electric systems. After turning on the electric accessory systems in the car, according to the officer, all Donaldson had left to do was engage the starter.
The defendant was convicted of second-degree theft. He appealed, arguing that the facts were not sufficient to support a conviction for second-degree theft. Specifically, he argued that because he did not engage the engine, he did not possess or control the van.
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