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Brown v. Commonwealth

656 S.W.2d 727 (1983)

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Brown v. Commonwealth

Kentucky Supreme Court

656 S.W.2d 727 (1983)

Facts

During an undercover operation to investigate automobile-transmission shops, a 1968 Ford LTD was taken to a Kentucky state garage, where the chief mechanic thoroughly examined the transmission to ensure it and the car were in proper working order. The mechanic then made a small malfunction adjustment to the transmission that required just three turns of a screw to repair; no removing or disassembling of the transmission was needed. Detective Davis, posing as the owner of the car, had it towed to a transmission shop where Thomas Brown (defendant) worked. Brown told Davis that the transmission bands were broken and that he had to disassemble the entire transmission to ascertain the full extent of the damages. Brown later told Davis of the cost to repair the transmission or replace it altogether. Davis authorized the repair job only. After the alleged repairs were complete, Davis took the car back to the Kentucky state garage, where the chief mechanic conducted another thorough examination of the transmission. It was at this time that the mechanic discovered the transmission had been replaced, not repaired as represented by Brown. The mechanic notified the detective, and Brown was subsequently charged and convicted of theft by deception. Brown appealed on grounds that the Commonwealth failed to establish an essential element of the offense, i.e., Davis’s reliance upon Brown’s misrepresentation.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

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