March 12, 2009

Court: Handcuff theft unintentional

A Miami court has tossed a theft conviction for a teenager who was accused of stealing handcuffs from a police officer during an attempted arrest.

The 15-year-old, who was identified as J.B. in court papers, had been charged with battery on an officer, resisting arrest and theft after he elbowed an officer and ran away with handcuffs attached to one of his wrists, The Miami Herald reported Thursday.

Police said the officer had been trying to arrest J.B. for talking too loud in a public library. The theft charge was the only count for which the teenager was found guilty.

However, the Third District Court of Appeal in Miami tossed the theft conviction Wednesday, saying the state failed to prove that the teenager intended to steal the cuffs.

The state is required to prove that J.B. intended to deprive the officer of her right to use the handcuffs or benefit from them, or that he intended to appropriate the handcuffs for his own use, the appeals court wrote in its decision. Actually, we are sure that J.B. would have gladly relinquished any dominion, control or possessory rights to the handcuffs if he only had the key to release them.