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People v. Clayton

Supreme Court of Colorado
728 P.2d 723 (Colo. 1986)


Facts

Charles Clayton (defendant) formed a partnership called Clayton Realty Company with Thomas and Donna Gray. The Grays contributed a total of $60,000 in return for a 50 percent share of the partnership. Later, Clayton entered into another partnership agreement with Evan Jones to form ERA Clayton Realty (ERA Clayton). Days later, Clayton and the Grays dissolved the initial partnership, with Clayton agreeing to pay the Grays $300 per month for 10 years. Clayton made $1,500 in payments to the Grays from ERA Clayton’s partnership account. The ERA Clayton partnership agreement stated that checks could only be drawn on the partnership’s bank account for partnership purposes. Clayton was charged with felony theft under Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-4-401, which provides that a person commits theft if the person knowingly obtains or exercises control over anything of value of another person without authorization and with the intent to permanently deprive the other person of the use or benefit of the thing of value. The district court found that Clayton had paid a personal debt to the Grays using money from the ERA Clayton partnership account. However, the district court held that a partner could not be charged with the theft of partnership property, because partnership property did not constitute a thing of value to another person as contemplated by the statute. The district court dismissed the charge against Clayton. The state appealed, arguing that an unauthorized taking of partnership property by a partner constituted theft.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Dubofsky, J.)

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Dissent

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