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Young v. State

Decided: March 10, 1964.

YOUNG
v.
STATE



Appeal from the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County; Evans, J.

Henderson, Hammond, Horney, Marbury and Sybert, JJ. Horney, J., delivered the opinion of the Court. Sybert, J., dissents.

Horney

We are confronted in this case with a question as to whether or not a police officer acted lawfully when he arrested the defendant without a warrant, and confiscated articles of property from an alleged accomplice, which were admitted as evidence against the defendant on his trial for larceny.

There is no dispute as to the facts concerning the arrest and seizure. In the evening of December 7, 1962, a security officer at a department store in Glen Burnie was notified by a store guard that "he had observed two suspects in the parking lot checking a number of cars [and] trying the door handles." The "suspects" were described simply as "two colored males."

Remembering that he had earlier seen a county police officer (who was off duty at the time) shopping in the store, the security officer had him paged. When the police officer appeared, the security officer relayed to him the report he had received from the guard, and, together, they went out to the sidewalk in front of the store, where the police officer saw two colored men "walking through the [rows of] cars." The defendant,

Robert Young, was walking thirty to fifty feet ahead of Joseph Anderson, who seemed to be following the defendant and had both arms full of "articles, packages [and] clothing." The defendant walked up to his car, a Buick, opened the trunk, and then, seeing the officers, "slammed the trunk lid back down and began walking off rapidly." Anderson just stood at the rear of the Buick holding the packages.

The security officer went to Anderson and the police officer went after the defendant, caught up with him, and, showing him his badge, told him he was under arrest (according to the police officer he arrested the defendant "for suspicion of larceny, investigation actually") and instructed him "to come back to the car where [the other man] was." From there both Anderson and the defendant (along with the parcels) were taken to an office in the store for questioning.

Under questioning, the defendant "denied any knowledge of the packages," but Anderson stated that he and the defendant had broken into a car on the parking lot and taken the parcels from it, and offered to point out the vehicle to his interrogators. He led them to a station wagon, the right wing-window of which had been broken and pried open. Other packages were lying on the parking lot along side of the station wagon. The owner of the station wagon, having been located, identified the parcels as his, and a list of the articles and their values was made of those Anderson was carrying, and, presumably, also those found beside the station wagon. The total value, according to the list, was $179.10. There is nothing in the record to indicate the value of such of the articles Anderson had in his possession when the defendant was arrested.

Neither Anderson nor the defendant took the stand to testify in their own behalf, but the defendant objected to the admissibility of the list and value of the stolen articles as evidence against him.

The defendant, tried by the court without a jury, was convicted of felonious larceny and sentenced to two years in prison. On appeal, the questions presented are: (i) whether his arrest was lawful; (ii) whether the evidence used to convict him was legally obtained; and (iii) whether the evidence was sufficient to convict him of larceny.


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