Sunday, November 17, 2013

State v. Stahl case brief

State v. Stahl case brief summary
596 P.2d 275 (1979)

Defendant sought review of the judgment of the trial court (New Mexico), which convicted him of embezzling over $ 100 for the theft of funds from his cash register and a drop box under the counter of the store where defendant was employed as a clerk.

Defendant was in sole charge of the store when he relieved another clerk, who had left $ 50 to $ 75 in the cash register. Other cash had been cleared from the registers and dropped through a slot into a locked box to which the clerks had no access. The evidence showed that defendant took a total of $ 600 from the drop box and the register.


  • On appeal from his conviction, defendant argued that the trial court erred in refusing a motion for acquittal because the evidence did not show that the cash in the register exceeded $ 100. 
  • In reversing, the court ruled that, under N.M. Stat. Ann. § 30-16-8 (1978), defendant must have been entrusted with the money in order to be convicted of embezzlement and that "entrust" meant to commit or surrender to another with a certain confidence regarding his care, use, or disposal of that which had been committed or surrendered. 
  • The court held that defendant had not been entrusted with the contents of the drop box and that there was no evidence that the funds in the register exceeded $ 100. 
  • The court noted that, while he could be charged with larceny for the funds taken from the drop box, he was not guilty of embezzlement from the box.

The court reversed defendant's conviction.

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