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Blackburn v. Commonwealth

89 S.W. 160 (1905)

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Blackburn v. Commonwealth

Kentucky Supreme Court

89 S.W. 160 (1905)

Facts

Blackburn (defendant) rented a horse and buggy in Kentucky, purportedly to drive to his uncle’s land. Because Blackburn had only one arm, his female companion drove. Blackburn claimed he was on a drinking spree, carried whiskey with him, and was asleep from its effects when the woman drove past his uncle’s land. The couple traveled on to another county, where they left the horse and buggy with someone named Cornutte, who agreed to take care of it. According to Cornutte, Blackburn said he owned the horse and buggy, borrowed $2, and promised to return in a day or two. Meanwhile, the couple traveled on to West Virginia. The horse was found in Cornutte’s care, and Blackburn was arrested for stealing it. Blackburn claimed he was drinking, did not remember what he said to Cornutte, and never meant steal the horse. Instead, Blackburn said, he intended to redeem the horse and return it to its owner, and indeed, when arrested Blackburn had the money on him to pay Cornutte for taking care of the horse and repay the $2 debt. The judge instructed the jury that taking something intending to convert it to one’s own use was enough to be convicted for larceny. The judge did not say the person also had to actually convert the property after taking it. The jury convicted. Blackburn appealed, claiming the judge instructed the jury incorrectly.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Paynter, J.)

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