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State of Idaho v. Abraham Vargas

January 23, 2012

STATE OF IDAHO, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
ABRAHAM VARGAS, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the District Court of the Fifth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Cassia County. Hon. Michael R. Crabtree, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lansing, Judge

2012 Opinion No. 4

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

Judgment of conviction for grand theft, affirmed.

Abraham Vargas appeals from his conviction for grand theft following a jury trial. Vargas asserts that the district court erred by refusing his requested jury instruction concerning the definition of "value." He also asserts that his conviction must be reduced to petit theft because the State failed to introduce sufficient evidence either that he possessed all of the stolen property at issue or that the value of the property exceeded one thousand dollars. We affirm.

I.

BACKGROUND

In March 2010, a Cassia County farm operator hired an irrigation pump company to do some work on one of its wells. The crew pulled nineteen ten-foot pieces of pipe*fn1 from the well and left the material on the ground on a Friday with the intent to re-install it the following week. When the crew arrived the following Monday, however, the pipe was gone. When alerted to the loss, the farm manager went directly to a local recycling scrapyard and asked the owner whether he had seen the pipe. The owner immediately directed the farm manager to the pipe, which the scrapyard had purchased for $332.52. The scrapyard relinquished the pipe back to the farm and it was reinstalled in the well. The scrapyard owner also gave police the license plate number and a copy of the driver's license of the individual who brought the pipe to the yard. These showed the individual to be Vargas.

Vargas was interviewed by the police and subsequently charged with grand theft by possession of stolen property with a value in excess of one thousand dollars. Idaho Code §§ 18- 2403(4), 18-2407(1)(b)(1). Vargas was found guilty at a jury trial, and he appeals the consequent conviction.

II.

ANALYSIS

A. The District Court Did Not Err by Refusing Vargas's Requested Jury Instruction on Value

To establish Vargas's guilt of felony grand theft, the State was required to prove, among other elements, that the theft involved property with a "value" in excess of one thousand dollars.

I.C. ยง 18-2407(1)(b)(1). A specific definition of value applicable to theft cases is given in Idaho ...


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