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Fortson v. State
Indiana Supreme Court
919 N.E.2d 1136 (2010)
Nathan Sosh reported his pickup truck stolen. On a routine patrol, Officer Jeremy Matthews spotted Sosh’s stolen truck being driven along a public street. Officer Matthews approached the truck when the truck stopped in a parking lot. Kail Fortson (defendant) was driving the stolen truck with an unidentified passenger. Fortson was handcuffed and arrested. The passenger was released without questioning. Fortson did not attempt to conceal the truck from Officer Matthews, did not attempt to flee, and stated he did not steal the truck and that it was loaned to him. Officer Matthews did not inquire who allegedly loaned the truck to Fortson. The State of Indiana (plaintiff) charged Fortson with receiving stolen property. Sosh testified he did not loan the truck to Fortson and did not know Fortson. Fortson was convicted after a jury trial with receiving stolen property. Fortson appealed, arguing that the state failed to prove Fortson knew the truck was stolen. The appellate court reversed, holding that Fortson’s mere possession of the stolen truck, without evidence proving Fortson knew the truck was stolen, was insufficient to support a charge of receiving stolen property. The state appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rucker, J.)
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