Hand v. State, 1 Div. 653

CourtAlabama Court of Criminal Appeals
Writing for the CourtTYSON
PartiesThomas James HAND, III v. STATE.
Decision Date24 April 1984
Docket Number1 Div. 653

Page 671

472 So.2d 671
Thomas James HAND, III
v.
STATE.
1 Div. 653.
Court of Criminal Appeals of Alabama.
April 24, 1984.
Rehearing Denied May 22, 1984.

Page 672

Lee L. Hale, Mobile, for appellant.

Charles A. Graddick, Atty. Gen. and Richard L. Owens, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

TYSON, Judge.

Thomas James Hand, III was indicted under § 13A-8-3, Code of Alabama 1975. The indictment alleged that he did "knowingly obtain or exert unauthorized control over a motor vehicle, to-wit: a 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix, the property of James Searcy, with the intent to deprive the owner of his property." The jury returned a verdict of "guilty of theft of property in the first degree as charged" and the trial court sentenced Mr. Hand to fifteen years' imprisonment pursuant to the Habitual Felony Offender Act.

It was undisputed at trial that on March 24, 1982, Thomas Hand had a wrecker attached to James Searcy's automobile and had it towed away. The car was in the parking lot of Snell's Lawnmower Service and Mr. Searcy was inside the place of business. An employee of Snell's came into the business and told Mr. Searcy that someone was about to tow his car away. Mr. Searcy went outside and saw Mr. Hand beside the car and asked him what he was doing. Mr. Hand informed him that Mr. Robert Baker, the lien holder of the automobile, had asked him to repossess the car because he (Searcy) was behind on his payments. Mr. Hand also informed Mr. Searcy that there was a federal warrant out for his (Searcy's) arrest. After Mr. Searcy retrieved some personal property from the car, Mr. Hand towed it away.

The state's theory of the case is that the appellant, Mr. Hand, transported the automobile from Snell's Lawnmower Service to an undisclosed location "with the intent to deprive the owner of his property," and did so by exerting unauthorized control over the vehicle.

Mr. James Searcy testified that Mr. Hand did not have his permission to take the automobile, but he did not try to stop him because he knew that he was behind on his payments. He testified that Mr. Baker called him and told his wife that Mr. Hand did not have the authority to repossess the automobile. He stated that Mr. Baker told him to get in touch with the police and get his car back.

Mr. Robert Baker testified that Thomas Hand called him. He stated that Mr. Hand asked him if he wanted Mr. Searcy's automobile repossessed. He further stated that he told Mr. Hand not to repossess the car. He said that approximately two days later Mr. Hand called him again and told him that he had repossessed the car. He further stated that Mr. Hand wanted $500 as his fee for repossessing the car. He stated over and over again that he did not give Mr. Hand the authority to repossess Mr. Searcy's car.

The appellant theorizes that, although he did take Mr. Searcy's automobile, he did so under the authority of Mr. Baker, who had the power to authorize such an act.

David Shepherd, an attorney who was handling details of the repossession for the appellant, testified that the appellant told him he had a contract with Mr. Baker to repossess Mr. Searcy's car. He stated that he sent Mr. Baker several letters asking for payment of the $500 fee. He stated that he got a response from Mr. Baker stating that he did not authorize Mr. Hand to repossess the car. He further stated that he talked with Mr. Baker on the telephone several times, and on each occasion Mr. Baker denied giving the authority for the repossession.

Paula Turner was called to testify to a telephone conversation she overheard between Mr. Hand and Mr. Baker. Her testimony

Page 673

was not allowed based on hearsay objections.

The appellant testified that in his conversations with Mr. Baker, he was authorized to repossess Mr. Searcy's automobile. He further stated that Mr. Baker had agreed to pay him a $500 fee for the repossession.

I

The appellant properly questioned the sufficiency of the evidence in his motions for judgment of acquittal and for a new trial. He argues that the trial court committed reversible error in denying his motions based on allegations that the state failed to present a prima facie case.

We have carefully reviewed the evidence in this case and have concluded that, while the appellant presented a defense which, if believed by the jury, might have justified his conduct, there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict.

The critical questions in this case were whether the appellant exercised...

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5 practice notes
  • Jackson v. State, CR-91-820
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • September 30, 1993
    ...any prejudice that would justify the granting of a motion for a mistrial or motion for new trial. See, generally, Hand v. State, 472 So.2d 671 (Ala.Crim.App.1984), rev'd on other grounds, 472 So.2d 675 (Ala.1985) (trial court did not err in denying motion for mistrial which was based on obs......
  • Samuels v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • April 26, 1991
    ...any prejudice that would justify the granting of a motion for mistrial or motion for new trial. See, generally, Hand v. State, 472 So.2d 671 (Ala.Crim.App.1984), rev'd on other grounds, 472 So.2d 675 (Ala.1985) (trial court did not err in denying motion for mistrial which was based on obser......
  • Smith v. State, CR-90-488
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • June 14, 1991
    ...the closing arguments in his case, but before deliberation, his jury was subjected to outside influence. This court, in Hand v. State, 472 So.2d 671, 674 (Ala.Cr.App.), rev'd on other grounds, 472 So.2d 675 (Ala.1985), " 'The prejudicial effect of communications between jurors and others, e......
  • Yeomans v. State, CR-92-0795
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • December 3, 1993
    ...offered for the truth of the matter asserted. An extrajudicial statement offered for some other purpose is not hearsay. Hand v. State, 472 So.2d 671, 673 In this case, Danny Enfinger's testimony was an in-court statement that he had personal knowledge that the appellant carried a weapon in ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Jackson v. State, CR-91-820
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • September 30, 1993
    ...any prejudice that would justify the granting of a motion for a mistrial or motion for new trial. See, generally, Hand v. State, 472 So.2d 671 (Ala.Crim.App.1984), rev'd on other grounds, 472 So.2d 675 (Ala.1985) (trial court did not err in denying motion for mistrial which was based on obs......
  • Samuels v. State
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • April 26, 1991
    ...any prejudice that would justify the granting of a motion for mistrial or motion for new trial. See, generally, Hand v. State, 472 So.2d 671 (Ala.Crim.App.1984), rev'd on other grounds, 472 So.2d 675 (Ala.1985) (trial court did not err in denying motion for mistrial which was based on obser......
  • Smith v. State, CR-90-488
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • June 14, 1991
    ...the closing arguments in his case, but before deliberation, his jury was subjected to outside influence. This court, in Hand v. State, 472 So.2d 671, 674 (Ala.Cr.App.), rev'd on other grounds, 472 So.2d 675 (Ala.1985), " 'The prejudicial effect of communications between jurors and others, e......
  • Yeomans v. State, CR-92-0795
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals
    • December 3, 1993
    ...offered for the truth of the matter asserted. An extrajudicial statement offered for some other purpose is not hearsay. Hand v. State, 472 So.2d 671, 673 In this case, Danny Enfinger's testimony was an in-court statement that he had personal knowledge that the appellant carried a weapon in ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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