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People v. Kunkin

Supreme Court of California
507 P.2d 1392 (Cal. 1973)


Facts

Arthur Reznick, an employee at the Los Angeles attorney general’s office (the office), took a copy of a personnel roster from the office that listed the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of undercover narcotics agents throughout the state. Reznick took the roster to the Los Angeles Free Press (Free Press) (defendant) and met with a reporter, Gerald Applebaum (defendant). Although Applebaum did not promise that the Free Press would publish the roster, Reznick left the paper on the reporter’s desk. At that time, Reznick was no longer working for the attorney general’s office. No agent of the newspaper promised to pay, and Reznick was never paid, for the roster. Shortly afterward, the Free Press published the roster. Reznick went to Applebaum and asked for the document back. Applebaum refused. The fingerprints of Reznick, Applebaum, and Arthur Kunkin (defendant), the editor and owner of Free Press, were found on the document. Free Press, Kunkin, and Applebaum were charged with receiving stolen property. California Penal Code § 496 provides that a person is guilty of receiving stolen property if: (1) the property was received, concealed, or withheld by the accused, (2) the property was obtained by theft or extortion, and (3) the accused knew that the property was illegally obtained. The jury was instructed on the elements of theft by larceny, including a specific intent to permanently deprive the rightful owner of property. Free Press, Applebaum, and Kunkin were convicted and appealed.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Wright, C.J.)

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  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
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  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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