State v. Benson

CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Writing for the CourtBefore KING; KING
Citation214 A.2d 903,153 Conn. 209
PartiesSTATE of Connecticut v. Robert BENSON. STATE of Connecticut v. Reuben McCRARY, Jr. Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut
Decision Date30 November 1965

Page 903

214 A.2d 903
153 Conn. 209
STATE of Connecticut
v.
Robert BENSON.
STATE of Connecticut
v.
Reuben McCRARY, Jr.
Supreme Court of Errors of Connecticut.
Nov. 30, 1965.

[153 Conn. 211]

Page 905

Robert C. Delaney, Hartford, with whom, on the brief, was Peter J. Zaccagnino, Jr., Hartford, for appellants (defendants).

Edmund W. O'Brien, State's Atty., with whom was Joseph T. Sweeney, Special Asst. State's Atty., for appellee (state).

Before [153 Conn. 209] KING, C. J., and MURPHY, ALCORN, SHANNON and HOUSE, JJ.

[153 Conn. 211] KING, Chief Justice.

These two defendants were tried together and their appeals from judgments of conviction were, by stipulation, combined for presentation to this court. Each defendant was charged, in two counts, with larceny on March 11, 1964, in violation of subsection (b) of § 53-63 of the General Statutes, which provides a special and generally more severe penalty for the larceny of 'goods, wares or merchandise offered or exposed for sale by any store or other mercantile establishment'. Each was acquitted under the second count but convicted under the first count. The defendant Reuben McCrary, Jr., was also charged in the second part of the information with being a second offender under § 54-118 of the General Statutes. Upon a separate jury trial on the second part of the information, after conviction under the larceny charge in the first part of the information, he was found guilty of being a second offender. No assignments of error are directed against this conviction under the second part of the information, and the procedure followed appears to have been in full conformity with proper practice, as outlined in cases such as State v. Counture, 151 Conn. 213, 217, 196 A.2d 113, and State v. Grady, 153 Conn. 26, 31, 211 A.2d 674.

Subsection (a) of § 53-63 embraces the common-law crime of larceny and provides a punishment [153 Conn. 212] graduated, in four steps, according to the value of the goods stolen. Subsection (b) of that section was added by Public Acts 1959, No. 596 (amended by Public Acts 1961, No. 305) and was directed at what is commonly known as shoplifting. Its provisions include the crime of common-law larceny if the subject of the larceny consists of 'goods, wares or merchandise offered or exposed for sale by any store or other mercantile establishment'. Subsection (b) also provides a punishment graduated, in four steps, according to the value of the goods stolen, but in most instances the permissible punishment is more severe than that provided in subsection (a) for the larceny of ordinary personal property of corresponding value.

One basic claim of each defendant, which we first consider, is that the goods charged to have been stolen were not 'goods * * * offered or exposed for sale' within the meaning of subsection (b) of the statute. This claim grows out of the fact that the goods were claimed by the state to have been stolen from a trading stamp redemption

Page 906

center or store maintained in New London by the Sperry and Hutchinson Company, hereinafter sometimes referred to as S & H. The court charged that a theft of goods from the S & H redemption store was, as matter of law, a theft of goods 'offered or exposed for sale' within the meaning of subsection (b) of § 53-63. To this instruction each defendant excepted.

In a jury case such as this, the charge must be tested by the claims of proof in the finding. Martyn v. Donlin, 151 Conn. 402, 409, 198 A.2d 700. The defendants, apparently quite properly, did not in their brief pursue any attack on the finding involved in this part of the appeal, and any assignments of [153 Conn. 213] error directed to this part are treated as abandoned. State v. Harris, 147 Conn. 589, 591, 164 A.2d 399, 83 A.L.R.2d 783; Fleischer v. Kregelstein, 150 Conn. 158, 160, 187 A.2d 241. The claims of proof of the state and the defendants material to this portion of the appeal are not in any real dispute and may be summarized rather briefly.

The Sperry and Hutchinson Company, which was the owner of the redemption store and of the merchandise in it, is a trading stamp company within the provisions of subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of § 42-126a of the General Statutes. As such it maintains the New London store for the redemption of books of trading stamps. About 1500 items of merchandise are kept on open display in the showroom portion of the store, which comprises about one-third of the entire area of the establishment. The remaining two-thirds of the area is a warehouse, wherein are kept prepackaged items identical with those on display. The merchandising practice of S & H is to exhaust the prepackaged warehouse stock of any given article before resorting to the article on display. The customer may acquire any item of merchandise in stock by surrendering the number of books of trading stamps designated on the item as its redemption cost.

The state makes much of the fact that one redeeming stamps in merchandise is required to...

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45 practice notes
  • State v. Brown
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 3 Mayo 1972
    ...its duty to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the state must establish each essential element of the crime charged. State v. Benson, 153 Conn. 209, 215, 214 A.2d 903. General Statutes § 19-474 is absolutely consistent with that duty and completely separate from it. Leland v. Oregon, 34......
  • State v. Ruiz-Pacheco, SC 20206
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 9 Julio 2020
    ...the legislature will intend to punish a continuous course of conduct as a single unit of prosecution. See, e.g., State v. Benson , 153 Conn. 209, 218, 214 A.2d 903 (1965) (larceny is continuing crime); State v. Licari , 132 Conn. 220, 226, 43 A.2d 450 (1945) (operating automobile under infl......
  • State v. Moye
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 9 Octubre 1979
    ...State v. Grayton, 163 Conn. 104, 109, 302 A.2d 246, cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1045, 93 S.Ct. 542, 34 L.Ed.2d 495 (1972); State v. Benson, 153 Conn. 209, 217, 214 A.2d 903 (1965); but because counsel has not presented us with anything of substance we can The defendant covers at great length, ho......
  • State v. Edwards, No. 27113.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 17 Abril 2007
    ...same stolen goods should not be separately punishable. We agree that larceny is a continuing crime under our law; see State v. Benson, 153 Conn. 209, 218, 214 A.2d 903 (1965); but because the larceny statutes are unclear regarding whether their different parts constitute grounds for separat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
45 cases
  • State v. Brown
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 3 Mayo 1972
    ...its duty to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the state must establish each essential element of the crime charged. State v. Benson, 153 Conn. 209, 215, 214 A.2d 903. General Statutes § 19-474 is absolutely consistent with that duty and completely separate from it. Leland v. Oregon, 34......
  • State v. Ruiz-Pacheco, SC 20206
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 9 Julio 2020
    ...the legislature will intend to punish a continuous course of conduct as a single unit of prosecution. See, e.g., State v. Benson , 153 Conn. 209, 218, 214 A.2d 903 (1965) (larceny is continuing crime); State v. Licari , 132 Conn. 220, 226, 43 A.2d 450 (1945) (operating automobile under infl......
  • State v. Moye
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • 9 Octubre 1979
    ...State v. Grayton, 163 Conn. 104, 109, 302 A.2d 246, cert. denied, 409 U.S. 1045, 93 S.Ct. 542, 34 L.Ed.2d 495 (1972); State v. Benson, 153 Conn. 209, 217, 214 A.2d 903 (1965); but because counsel has not presented us with anything of substance we can The defendant covers at great length, ho......
  • State v. Edwards, No. 27113.
    • United States
    • Appellate Court of Connecticut
    • 17 Abril 2007
    ...same stolen goods should not be separately punishable. We agree that larceny is a continuing crime under our law; see State v. Benson, 153 Conn. 209, 218, 214 A.2d 903 (1965); but because the larceny statutes are unclear regarding whether their different parts constitute grounds for separat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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