CASE STUDY: Eden Rafferty Successfully Defends Client in Cellphone Larceny CasePosted In: Criminal Defense
An employee claimed his cellphone was stolen at work. A cell phone locator application, “Find My iPhone,” was used and the phone was found ringing in the client’s pocket. He was charged with larceny, which is a felony, and suspended from his job with impending termination a strong possibility.
Attorney Benoit explained the client is being charged with a crime, will be arraigned, and will go before the court. He further explained what a pretrial conference is, and where the District Attorney gets involved to discuss the case and the evidence involved.
The case lasted eight months before it finally went to trial. Based on some cross-examinations, and though having his client testify, Attorney Benoit was able to show that it was most likely two of the client’s co-workers who were trying to conspire to get him fired.
There was a clear opportunity for this to happen. The client wore a pair of jeans when he worked outside and basketball gym shorts when he worked inside. He had laid his jeans on top of one of the tables that were shared by all employees.
One evening, when he came in and put on his jeans, that’s when other employees said a coworker’s iPhone was missing and they ran the “Find My iPhone” application and found the phone in the client’s pocket.
One of the strategies Attorney Benoit used was to look at the client’s employee handbook. There was a section in it about, if you find that someone in the company is committing larceny or theft and you bring it to the company’s attention, and that person is convicted, there’s a $5000 reward.
He was able to use the handbook to show that there was a motive for why these employees would do this. Not only that, but he also showed that they had personal reasons why they didn’t like the client, and they had previously tried to get him fired.
Through cross-examination Attorney Benoit was able to show that these employees had an animosity toward the client, that they had conflicts in the past with him, and they’d tried to get him fired previously.
Attorney Benoit suggested that it was just too convenient, and that the cell phone would be in the client’s back pocket. He was further able to show that the client had just purchased a brand new, $700 smartphone, three or four days earlier, with receipts from the phone company. There would be no reason why the client would steal someone else’s used cell phone.
What could have been the result for this client? He would have definitely lost his job, and he probably would have been on probation. He would have also been a convicted felon making him submit to a DNA sample, putting him into the National & State Registers database.
If convicted of larceny, a felony, it would be on his record for at least 10 years. Every time he applied for a job and there was a background check, it would show up.
Since Attorney Benoit was able to show reasonable doubt, the client was found not guilty. He was given back his job, discharged of arrest, and with no felony on his record.