In a recent opinion from a New York court, the defendant’s appeal of his forgery conviction was denied. Originally, the defendant was convicted of criminal possession of a forged instrument due to his attempts at using a fake gift card to purchase items at a department store. He was also convicted of petit larceny, and he appealed both convictions. The higher court considered the defendant’s argument but ultimately affirmed the defendant’s original guilty verdict.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant in this case was a New York resident who went shopping at a Century 21 department store. While there, the defendant used a forged gift card to try and make purchases. Apparently, the gift card had been manufactured so that a third party would be billed for the transaction, allowing the defendant to buy items without having to pay any money. When the defendant was caught using the forged card, he told the department store’s security guards that he purchased the card from a stranger for $20, even though he had been attempting to purchase $70 worth of clothing at the time.
On appeal, the defendant argued that incriminating evidence of his attempted theft should have been suppressed at trial. The defendant focused on the fact that the evidence used at trial came from the store’s security guards, who were subject to the same rules as state actors, such as police officers or government employees. The Constitution protects an individual from infringement of certain rights from the Government not from private individuals or companies. Therefore, one may only have evidence suppressed if it is illegally seized by government actors and not private actors. Because the store’s guards were considered state actors for the purposes of this case, said the defendant, they were supposed to carefully ensure that they were not intruding on the defendant’s constitutional rights. These rights include the right to privacy as well as the right to not be searched without probable cause.
The court considered the facts of the case and ultimately decided that security guards are not actually state actors. According to the court, security guards are privately hired individuals, subject to the rules of the department store and not to the rules of the state. The defendant had not provided any facts to support the fact that the store employees were indeed state actors, so the court could not bring itself to hold these employees to the same standards they would hold a police officer or a government employee. Therefore, said the court, the defendant’s motion to suppress had no merit, and the incriminating evidence was properly admitted at trial.
The court then affirmed the defendant’s original guilty verdict.
Have You Been Criminally Charged with Fraud or Theft in the State of New York?
If you are facing criminal charges based on fraudulent purchases in New York, give us a call at Tilem & Associates. Our team of experienced New York criminal defense attorneys is standing by, ready to walk you through your options so that you can fight your case as aggressively and effectively as possible. With so much on the line, call on people that you can trust. For a free and confidential consultation, contact us at 877-377-8666.