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People v. Sally Mistook

Supreme Court of the State of Imagination
2 Imagination Cases 5 (2004)


Facts

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. 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 also testified that Earnest told the students that regular office hours were on Mondays from 4:00 p.m. to 6:40 p.m. Earnest gave the students permission to go into her office and wait if she was not there during those hours. However, Earnest had informed her students that office hours were cancelled that day, through a handout given in class. Finally, Mistook testified that she had removed one set of hinges from the refrigerator. However, the prosecution demonstrated that the refrigerator still latched. Mistook requested jury instructions on the defense of mistake of fact, but the trial court denied the request. The jury convicted Mistook, and she appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Revel, J.)

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