On July 29, 1991, a man was found guilty of third degree robbery, fourth degree grand larceny, and fifth degree criminal possession of stolen property by the Trial Court. He appealed for a review of the case and to have the charge of third degree robbery removed.
According to the defense and the prosecution, the most important thing that should be considered is the testimony of the victim. There were no witnesses to the robbery. According to the victim, she was walking along the street, with the handle of her handbag wrapped around her fingers. Suddenly, she felt a tug on the hand holding the bag. When she turned to look, her handbag was gone. However, she did not see or hear anyone. Neither was she pushed to the ground or hurt. The suspect was caught later with the handbag. One end of the handbag’s strap was broken.
According to the man accused of the robbery, there was not enough evidence to prove that there was a third degree robbery. A lawyer specializing in robbery, explains that third degree robbery is defined as the forceful taking of another person’s property. A person forcibly takes another person’s property when he uses or threatens to use immediate force to stop the other person from preventing the taking of his property, or to stop him from recovering it, after it is taken.
The suspect says that he did not commit third degree robbery because he did not use force to take the bag. Also, the robbery happened so quickly that the woman had not even had time to resist. Furthermore, she was not injured.
According to the prosecution, the suspect used force because part of the strap had been wrapped around the victim’s fingers and the force that was used to take the bag was enough to break the strap of the bag.
Now what makes this interesting is that cases like these are treated differently in different courts. According to the lawyer specializing in robbery, in New York and in most other states, a snatching in which the victim does not resist is not considered a robbery. In Kentucky and some other states though, all cases of snatching are considered robberies, whether or not the victim resists.
There was one case in which a man snatched a woman’s purse and grocery bags but was not found guilty of third degree robbery because the woman was not injured or in danger of injury, did not resist, and did not even notice that him go near her. This is the case that the suspect cites in his defense.
In this case however, the strap was broken as a result of the snatching. This leads the jury and the Court to conclude that force was actually used to take the bag, even though the victim herself was not injured. The criminal force used also prevented the victim from resisting and from taking the bag back and therefore, falls under the definition of third degree robbery in law.
Therefore, the Court of Appeals finds the suspect guilty of third degree robbery and affirms the decision of the Trial Court.
Filing a lawsuit or being charged with a lawsuit can be very difficult. They take a toll not only on your financial resources but also on your time. Stephen Bilkis & Associates, together with its team of excellent lawyers who specialize in robbery, physical injury, and many others can provide you with the guidance and support that you need.
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