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People v. Sally Mistook

Supreme Court of the State of Imagination
2 Imagination Cases 10 (2004)


Sally Mistook (defendant), a first-year law student, was caught in a stairwell at 6:45 p.m. on a Monday, with a folder containing a draft of the final examination for Criminal Law. Mistook was taking the Criminal Law course taught by Professor Earnest. The folder had been left in Earnest’s office at the law school. Police went to Mistook’s home and observed two children playing with a full-size, empty refrigerator, with Mistook’s name on it, on the street outside her home. The State (plaintiff) charged Mistook with burglary, trespass, and leaving an abandoned refrigerator accessible to children. During the trial, Earnest testified that she had left two folders on a table just inside the door to her office. One folder had a class roster and lecture notes; the other contained a draft of the final exam. Earnest testified that she left the law school just after 6:30 p.m. Mistook testified that she intended to take the folder with the class roster information, because she dreaded being called upon during the next class. Mistook consulted another law student, Harry Hellpar, who told her the plan was not illegal. Mistook testified that she did not set foot into Earnest’s office. Instead, she reached inside and grabbed the wrong folder. Mistook requested jury instructions on the defense of mistake of law, but the trial court denied the request. The jury convicted Mistook, and she appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Revel, J.)

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