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Commonwealth v. Ryan

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
30 N.E. 364, 155 Mass. 523 (Mass. 1892)


Ryan (defendant) was an employee at Sullivan’s liquor store. Sullivan hired two detectives to go to the store to buy something with marked money. When the detective paid for the purchase, Ryan put the money in the cash register, but did not register the sale. Minutes later, Ryan took the money. Ryan was charged with embezzlement. The judge instructed the jury that, if Ryan had the intention to steal the money before he put it in the drawer and only put it there for safekeeping for himself, his taking of it afterward was not larceny. Ryan presented exceptions to the instructions, asking for a ruling that he was not guilty of embezzlement, but rather, if anything, of only larceny. Ryan’s argument was based on the premise that after he put the money into the drawer, it was in Sullivan’s possession, and Ryan’s removal of it was a trespass and, therefore, larceny.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Holmes, J.)

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