Davies v. Commonwealth
Court of Appeals of Virginia
15 Va.App. 350, 423 S.E.2d 839 (1999)
Ralph Donald Davies (defendant) opened credit accounts at two stores under a fictitious name. Store cashiers accepted that credit as payment for video and stereo equipment worth more than $2000, and allowed Davies to go home with his purchases. When this came to light, the Commonwealth of Virginia (plaintiff) prosecuted Davies for grand larceny by false pretenses. At trial, Davies asked the judge to instruct the jurors that a conviction required them to find that Davies fraudulently took both "possession of and title to" the video and stereo equipment. The judge instructed the jurors only that a conviction required proof that Davies obtained possession of the equipment. The jury convicted Davies and he appealed to the Court of Appeals of Virginia, citing Baker v. Commonwealth, 300 S.E.2d 788 (1983), in support of his contention that the jury instruction's lack of any reference to the passage of title constituted reversible error. In Baker, a conviction for larceny by false pretenses was reversed because the jury was not instructed that passage of title was an element of the crime.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Koontz, C.J.)
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