This morning I was watching video arraignments while waiting for my client's case to be called. The second individual to be arraigned was warmly greeted by the judge: "It's so nice to see you again, Mr. X. Wasn't our last arraignment together just last Thurs or Fri?" So, I thought I would listen as the arraignment promised to be interesting.
I was not disappointed.
The charge was Receiving Stolen Property. The State asked for cash bail in an amount I knew the defendant would not be able to post, relying on the fact that Mr. X committed the alleged offense while on bail for a Possession of a Controlled Drug charge from last week. (The judge was correct; she had just seen him. Last Friday, actually.) Presented with this request, the judge took a moment to read the Gerstein affidavit. Her response? "Attorney? Is this affidavit for real?"
The following unfolded to reveal the story behind the charge:
An officer was on patrol, walking up the street, when he was confronted by an individual wishing to report a crime. It seems that the individual had given Mr. X some money (less than $100) and asked him to purchase some drugs for him. Mr. X had taken the money, and the individual thought Mr. X would procure the drugs for him. Unfortunately, Mr. X failed to deliver, and the individual--drugless--went to the first officer he saw to report his status as a victim.
The officer, doing his best to uphold the law, searched Mr. X and found a sum of money less than what the victim stated he gave him but decided to arrest him anyway.
The State, knowing they would have a hard time proving a theft charge, charged Mr. X with Receiving Stolen Property.
What happened with the "victim's" confession to attempting to purchase drugs?