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Man faces California three strikes law for theft of gloves

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Prosecutors alleged the man placed a pair of gloves and some wire in his waistband at a Home Depot store in Lake Elsinore in 2009. A witness testified that the man pulled his sweatshirt over his waist line and then left the store with the items still in his waistband.

The defendant exercised his right to testify in his own defense at trial. The 44-year-old told the jury he intended to steal the items, but changed his mind before leaving the store. The defendant told the jury that he turned around inside the store.

The jury deliberated for only fifteen minutes before rendering its guilty verdict to felony level petty theft. The jury was not aware that prosecutors are seeking the 30 years to life sentence under the three strikes law. Jurors are not allowed to consider the potential sentencing that could be imposed in they render a guilty verdict.

The Lake Elsinore man reportedly has three California burglary convictions on his record dating from 1991.

The judge in the case also heard the defendant testify at trial. The judge has the authority to make a finding at sentencing that the case falls outside the intent of the three strikes law and not impose the 25 year to life minimum sentence under the three strikes provision.

Source: North County Times, "Lake Elsinore: Man convicted of petty theft," Tammy J. McCoy 2 Feb 2011

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