People v. Jaffe

185 N.Y. 497, 78 N.E. 169 (1906)



If all which an accused person intends to do would if done constitute no crime it cannot be a crime to attempt to do with the same purpose a part of the thing intended.


Defendant was charged with receipt of stolen property for acceptance of several yards of cloth belonging to a business partnership. After a subsequent trial, the defendant was convicted of an attempt to commit the felony charged in the indictment. The appellate court affirmed the judgment.


Was the defendant liable for larceny for mistakenly believing that the property he bought was stolen?




Upon final determination, the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the goods which defendant attempted to purchase lost their character as stolen goods when they were offered to defendant by the partnership for an agreed upon price. Accordingly, even though defendant may have had the requisite mental state for committing a crime of larceny, his actions in purchasing the cloth did not violate statutes.

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